Of the Lord's Prayer*
Upon the Twelve Articles of the Christian Faith*
Upon the Commandments*
A Meditation concerning Prayer, with a brief paraphrase upon the Petitions of the Lord's Prayer*
Another Paraphrase or Meditation upon the Lord's Prayer*
A Meditation on the coming of Christ to Judgement, and of the Rewards both of the Faithful and Unfaithful*
A Meditation concerning the Sober usage both of the Body and Pleasures in this Life*
Another Meditation to the Same Effect*
A Meditation for the Exercise of our Mortification*
A Godly Meditation and Instruction on the Providence of God towards Mankind*
A Meditation of the Presence of God*
A Meditation of God's Power, Beauty, Goodness, &c.*
A Meditation on Death, and the Advantages it brings*
A Godly Meditation upon the Passion of our Saviour Jesus Christ*
Godly Meditations upon the Lord's Prayer, the Belief, and the Commandments, with other Comfortable Meditations, Prayers, and Exercises by the constant Martyr of God, John Bradford, in the Time of his Imprisonment
To the Reader
Here thou hast (good reader) such godly meditations prayers, and other exercises of that worthy witness of God, John Bradford, as God by his singular providence has hitherto preserved, and now at length brought to light, for thy comfort and advantage. Daily and hourly was this his exercise, to talk with God by faithful and hearty meditation and prayer, with power piercing the heavens, and many such godly exercises did he leave behind him which either time has consumed, or else such as keep them in store to their own private use, do little consider what benefit they withhold from the church of God, which, if they shall yet brotherly communicate, there shall not lack good will and diligence to set them abroad. In the mean season, let us with thankfulness receive, read and practise these as means to quicken our spirits, to stir up our dull hearts to a more fervent invocation of God's holy name: which how far it is from what it should be in us and what need we have thereof, if our dead senses cannot feel, here may we see and perceive. Here may we learn to flee unto God by prayer, that we run not on still with this unthankful world into forgetfulness of his great benefits poured upon us, especially for the liberty of his gospel, which we (in much mercy restored now unto us again) so unthankfully receive, so ungodly neglect, so wickedly abuse. God grant us his good Spirit to work in us this good work; to look about us in time; to consider our state past and present, as indeed we have great cause to do, and so with hearty prayer flee unto God to prevent the plagues that are at hand, lest with double woe we find the latter end worse than the beginning.
Instructions to be Observed Concerning Prayer
There are nine things that pertain to the knowledge of true prayer:
1, To know what prayer is. 2, How many sorts of prayer there are. 3, The necessity of prayer. 4, To Whom we ought to pray. 5, By Whom we must pray. 6, Where to pray. 7, What to pray. 8, The excellency of prayer 9, What we must do, that our prayers may be heard.
1. What prayer is.
Prayer is a simple, unfeigned, humble, and ardent opening of the heart before God; wherein we either ask things needful, or give thanks for benefits received. Paul (1 Tim. ii.) calls it by four sundry names in one sentence, namely, prayer, supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving: whereof the first is, for the avoiding and preventing of evil; the second is an earnest and fervent calling upon God for any thing; the third is an intercession for others; the fourth is a praising of God for things received.
2. There are two manner of ways how we should pray.
First, publicly, and that is called common prayer; second, privately, us when men pray alone, and that is called private prayer; and how both these two are allowed before God, the Scripture bears testimony by the example of all the holy men and women before and after Christ.
3. Of the necessity of prayer.
There are four things that provoke us to pray: first, the commandment of God; secondly, sin in us, which drives us, from necessity, to God for succour, life, and mercy; thirdly, our weak nature being unable to do any good, requires prayer to strengthen it, even as a house requires principal pillars for the upholding of it; fourthly the subtlety of the enemy (who privily lurks in the inward parts, waiting to overthrow us even in those things we think are best done) stirs us vehemently thereunto.
4. To Whom we ought to pray.
Three things pertain to Him that must be prayed unto: first, that he have such ears as may hear all the world at once; secondly, that he be in all places at once; thirdly that he have such power that he may be able to help, and such mercy that he will deliver.
5. By Whom we should pray.
Christ is the only way by whom we have free access unto the Father, and for whom our prayers are accepted (our infirmities notwithstanding,)ówithout whom all our prayers are abominable.
6. Where to pray.
As touching the place where we should pray, seeing all places are one, there is none forbidden; only the common prayer must be made in what place soever the congregation of Christ assembles.
7. What to pray. This is according to the necessity of every man; and forasmuch as we need both spiritual and corporeal things, we may boldly ask them both: for as to ask spiritual gifts, is profitable and commanded, so to ask corporeal, is necessary and allowed.
8. Of the excellency of prayer.
The worthiness of prayer consists in two things; in the dignity of the commander, who is God, the fountain of all goodness, who commands only good things; and in the effect that follows it, which is the obtaining of whatsoever we desire faithfully, according to the will off God.
9. What to do that we may be heard.
First, we must put off our own righteousness, pride, and estimation of ourselves, and put on Christ with his righteousness; secondly, an earnest faith and fervent love, with the putting off all rancour, malice, and envy, is required; finally, true repentance knits up the knot, for in it are contained all the virtues before named.
Of the Lord's Prayer
Thou, good Lord, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is therein, (Gen. i.) together with thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and with thy Holy Spirit: thou, the same God which opened thyself to Adam by thy promise; (Gen. iii. :) thou, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; (Gen. xii. xxii. xxiii. xxiv. xxv. :) thou who brought thy people of Israel forth of Egypt with a mighty hand and a stretched-out power; (Exod. xiii. xiv. xv. &c. :) thou, who gave thy law upon mount Sinai; (Exod. xix. xx. :) thou, who spoke by thy prophets, and, last of all, in these latter days by thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, (Heb. i.) whom thou would should be made a second Adam; (1 Cor. xv.) that as by the first we are children of wrath, carnal, and full of concupiscence, so by him we might be made children of grace and spiritual; (Rom. v.) by communicating with him the quality, merits, virtues, and grace of his flesh, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, as he communicated with us the substance of our flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, (Watt. i.) by the operation of the same Holy Spirit; (Luke i.) being that blessed Seed which was promised to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, which should bruise the serpent's head, (Gen. iii. xii. xxvi. xxviii.) which should bring the blessing on all nations, which should reign over thy house for ever, (Psalm lxxxix.) and mightily overcome thine and our enemies; as indeed he did by his incarnation, nativity, circumcision, exile, baptism, fasting, temptation, doctrine, deeds, miracles, workings, agonies, bloody prayer, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension; (Luke i., Ps. cx.;) and he yet still does by his mediation and intercession for us; (Rom. viii.) and at the length he will on all parts fully accomplish by his coming to judgment; (Matt. xxiv.) which will be suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, with the blast of a trumpet, and shout of an archangel; (1 Cor. xv., 1 Thess. iv., 2 Cor. v.) when he shall be seen with thousands of saints, and innumerable thousands of angels all the whole world being on fire, and all people that ever were, are, or shall be, then standing before his tribunal or judgement-seat, to render an account of that they have done in this body, be it good or bad. (Exod. xxxii. xxxiii., Psalm v., Joel, ii ) Thou, I say, this God who art holy, righteous, true, wise, pure, mighty, merciful, good, gracious, a hater of sin, an avenger of unrighteousness &c., would that I which am born in sin, and conceived in iniquity, which by nature am a child of wrath, (Psalm li., Eph. ii.) (for my heart is so unsearchably evil, that out of it springs corrupt concupiscence, so that the inclination thereof is prone to evil, always even from my youth up; Gen. viii. ix., Jer. xvii. my understanding and mind are so darkened, that I cannot perceive those things that are of God, (2 Cor. ii. iii.) of myself, or by all the wisdom which I receive from Adam naturally or otherwise attain by labour or study before regeneration; I cannot think a good thought, much less wish it, or consent unto it, and least of all do it,)óthou, I say, yet would that I, being such a one, in whom dwells continual enmity against thee; (Rom. viii.) that I, which am nothing but sin, and one that does evil always before thee, should call thee and believe thee, this God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to be in very deed my Father, that is, thou would I should be most assured, that thou of thine own good will which thou bare towards me before I was, yea, before the world was, hast in Christ chosen me to be thy child, and through him art become my most loving Father. (Eph. i.) From whom I should look for all good things, and be most certainly persuaded, that by how much thou art more than man, so much thy love and fatherly providence towards me passes the love and providence of any father towards his child, in loving me, caring how to help me, providing for me, nurturing me, and helping me in all my needs. So certain thou wouldst have me to be of this, that to doubt of it, does most displease thee and dishonour thee, as if either thou art not true, or not able to do these things, or else became not my father in respect of thine own goodness in Christ only, but also in respect of my worthiness and deserts. And that I should not waver or doubt of this, that thou art my dear Father, and I thy child for ever through Jesus Christ, is required in the first commandment, which says, "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt hare none other gods but me." Again, thy Son here commands me to call thee by the name of Father, moreover, in the first article of my belief, I profess the same in saying, I believe in God, the Father Almighty. Besides this, there are many other things to confirm me herein, as the creation and government of the world generally, and of every creature particularly; for all is made and kept for maw and so for me, to serve me for my advantage, necessity, and admonition. Again, the creation of me, in that thou hast made me after thy image, having a reasonable soul, body, shape, &c., whereas thou might have made me a toad, a serpent, a swine, deformed, frantic, &c.: moreover, thy wonderful preservation, nourishing, and keeping of me hitherto in my infancy, childhood, youth, &c.óall these, I say, should confirm my faith of thy fatherly love. But of all things, the opening of thyself by thy word and promise of grace, made after man's fall, first to Adam, then to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and so to others, being published by the prophets from time to time; and, last of all, accomplished by thy dear Son Jesus Christ, in whom thy promises are yea and amen. (2 Cor. i.) The opening of thyself thus, I say, in and by Christ, is the chief and most sure certificate, that thou art my Father for his sake, and I thy dear child, although of myself I am most unworthy. For thou, according to thy promises, hast not spared thy dear Son Jesus Christ, but hast given him to the death of the cross for my sins. (John iii.) Thou wouldst that he should be made flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Spirit; (Eph. v.) that we, by the working of the same Spirit, through the merits of his flesh and blood, might be made flesh of his flesh, and blood of his blood. That is, as he has the substance of our flesh and blood, even so we might have and for ever enjoy in him, and through him, the qualities, virtues, and gifts of righteousness, holiness, innocence, immortality, and glory, wherewith he has endued our nature in his own person for us all; that as now in faith and hope we have the same, so in his coming we might fully enjoy them in very deed; for then shall our bodies, now vile, be like to his glorious body. (Phil. iii.) Herein appears thy love, not that we loved thee, but that thou loved us, and hast given thy Son for us. (1 John iv.) Herein dost thou commend unto us thy love, that when we were yet sinners, Christ thy dear Son bled for us; (Rom. v.) so that nothing should separate us from thy love in Christ Jesus, neither life nor death, nor any other thing. (Rom. viii.) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto thee by the death of thy Son, much more we, being reconciled, shall be saved by his life. (Rom. v.) And that I should not doubt hereof, but certainly be persuaded that all things pertained to me, whereas I might have been born of Turks, lo, thou wouldst I should be born of Christian parents, brought into thy church by baptism, which is the sacrament of adoption, and requires faith as well of remission of my sins as of sanctification and holiness, to be wrought of thee in me by thy grace and Holy Spirit. Whereas I might have been born in an ignorant time and region, thou wouldst that I should be born in this time and region, wherein is more knowledge revealed than ever was here before, or in many places is now. Whereas I might have been of a corrupt judgment, and entangled with many errors, lo! thou of thy goodness, as thou hast reformed my judgment, so thou dost keep it, and now for the same judgement's sake dost vouchsafe somewhat by the cross to try me. By all which things I should confirm my faith of this, that thou hast always been, art, and wilt be for ever, my dear Father; in respect whereof I should be certain of salvation and of the inheritance of heaven for ever, and be thankful, cast my whole care on thee, trust in thee, and call on thee, with comfort and certain hope, for all things that I want. For since thou hast given to me this benefit, to be thy child, undeserved, undesired on my behalf, simply and only in respect of thine own goodness and grace in Christ, lest at any time I should doubt of it, how should I but hope certainly that nothing profitable to me can be denied, since thy power is infinite? For as thy good will is declared in adopting me, so nothing can be finally wanting to me which may make for my weal (benefit, welfare, editor), (for that should disprove thy power to be almighty,) in that thy will already is so boundlessly declared; whereas my belief requires to believe in thee the Father Almighty, in consideration whereof I should in all things behave myself as a child, rejoice in thee, praise thee, trust in thee, fear thee, serve thee, love thee, call upon thee, &c. But, alas! how heavy-hearted am I! how unthankful am I! how full of unbelief, and doubting of this thy rich mercy! how little do I love thee, fear thee, call upon thee! &c. Oh! be merciful unto me forgive me, good Father, for thine own sake, and grant me the spirit of thy children, to reveal thyself unto me, and Jesus Christ thy dear Son our Lord, by whom we are made thy children, that I may truly know thee, heartily love thee, faithfully hang upon thee in all my needs, with good hope call upon thee, render faithfully this honour to thee, that thou art my God and Father, and I thy dear child, through thy grace in Christ, and so always be endued with an assured hope of thy goodness, and a faithful obedient heart in all things to thy holy will. At thy hands, and from thee, as I must look for all things, so come I unto thee, and pray thee to give me those things which thy dear children have; and thou require of me, that I might come and ask them of thee, as now I do through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As by this word Father I am taught to glory of thee and in thee, and all that ever thou hast, for thou art wholly mine, my Lord, my God, and my Father; so by this word our I am taught to glory of all the good, that all and each of thy servants that ever were, are or shall be, had, have, and shall have. For now I am taught to believe that thou hast called me into the communion of thy church and people, whom hereby I perceive thou hast commanded to be careful for me, as for themselves, and in all their prayers to be as mindful of me as of themselves. Again, as by this word Father I am taught to remember and render my duty which I owe towards thee, faith, love, fear, obedience, &c., so by thy word our I am taught my duty towards thy people, to be careful for them, and to take their sorrow, poverty, affliction, &c., as mine own; and therefore to labour to help them in heart and hand, after my vocation and ability, utterly abhorring all pride, self-love, arrogance, and contempt of any. By reason whereof I have great cause to lament and to rejoice. To lament, because I am so far from considering, much more from doing, my duty to thy people, in thoughts words, or deeds. To rejoice, because I am called of thee, and placed in the blessed society of thy saints, and made a, member and citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem; and because thou hast given in commandment to all thy church to be as careful for me as for themselves.
But, alas! how far am I here from! As I am guilty of unthankfulness for this thy calling me into the blessed communion of thy dear Son and church, yea, of thyself; so am I guilty of self-love, unmercifulness, pride, arrogance, forgetfulness, contempt of thy children; for else I could not but be otherwise affected, and otherwise labour than I do. Oh! be merciful unto me, good Father, forgive me, and grant for Christ's sake, that as my tongue sounds this word our, so I may in heart feel the true joy of thy blessed communion, and the true love and compassion which thy children have and feel towards their brethren; that I may rejoice in all trouble, in respect of that joyful communion; that I may deny myself, to honour thy children upon earth, and endeavour myself to do them good, for thy sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord. I come only to thee to give me that which I cannot and must not have elsewhere, and thou require it of me, that therefore I should, as thy child, come and crave it to thy glory.
Which art in Heaven.
As by these words, our Father, I am taught to glory and rejoice for the blessed communion which I am called to with thee, dear Father, with thy Christ, and with thy holy church, so also am I here taught by these words, which art in heaven, to rejoice in respect of the place and blessed joys, whereunto at length in thy good time I shall come. For now I may perceive, that as heaven is thy home, so it is mine also, being, as I am, thy child through Christ, although here for a time I am bodily on earth and in misery.
Again, by these words, which art in heaven, I am admonished not only to discern thee from earthly fathers, and to know that thou art almighty, present in all places, and of perfect purity, to confirm thereby my faith, to be provoked the more to fear thee, to reverence thee, &c., but also I am admonished to judge of thy fatherly love by heavenly benefits, and not by corporeal benefits, simply and alone. For often the wicked prosper more in the world, and have more worldly benefits, than thy children; so that by this I see thou wouldst pull up my mind from earth and earthly things, to heaven and heavenly things; and that I should see further by corporeal benefits thy heavenly providence for me. For if thou place me thus on earth, and thus bless me as thou dost, and hitherto hast done, from my youth up, since thou art not so careful for my body as for my soul, how should I but think much of thy providence for it in thy home, where is such glory, as the eye has not seen, &c. Of which things these corporeal benefits of thine, given me on earth, should be as it were inductions (should lead me on, editor), and the taking of them away admonitions to he more mindful of permanent things, and less mindful of transitory things.
By reason hereof I have great cause to lament and to rejoice. To lament, because I am so earthly-minded, so little desirous of my home, so unthankful for thy providence, and fatherly corrections here on earth. To rejoice, because of my home, and the great glory thereof, because thou dost so provide for me here, because thou dost so correct and chasten me, &c. But, alas! I am altogether a wretch, earthly, and unthankful, not only for these corporeal benefits, health, riches, friends, fame, wisdom, tic., for thy fatherly correction, sickness, temptation, &c., but also for thy heavenly benefits, for Jesus Christ, for the promise of thy Spirit, for thy gospel, &c., yea, even for heaven itself, and thy whole glory, as the Israelites were for the land of Canaan, and therefore never enjoyed it, but perished in the wilderness. (Psalm cvi.). I am proud in prosperity, and forget thee, waxing secure and careless, &c. I am impatient in the cross, and too much consider worldly disadvantage. Oh! dear Father, forgive me, for thy Christ's sake, all mine unthankfulness, love of this world, contempt and oblivion of thy heavenly benefits; and grant me thy Holy Spirit, to illuminate the eyes of my mind with the light and lively knowledge of thy presence, power, wisdom, and goodness in thy creatures, but especially in Christ Jesus, thy Son, and so by the same Spirit inflame mine affection, that I may desire nothing in earth but thee, and to be present with thee, that my conversation may be in heaven continually. From whence grant me still to look for the Lord Jesus, to make this my vile body like unto his own glorious and immortal body, according to his own power, by which he is able to do all things. As thou hast given me to be thy child, so I pray thee give me these things which are the properties of thy children, given from thee in thy good time. (Col. iii. Phil. iii.)
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy name is that whereby thou art known, for names serve to distinguish and make known one thing frown another. Now, though thou art known by thy creature, yet in this our corrupt estate they serve but to make us excuse-less. (Rom. i.) Therefore properly, most lively, and comfortably thou art known by thy holy word, and especially by thy promise of grace, and freely pardoning and receding us into thy favour for Christ Jesus' sake; for which goodness in Christ thou art praised and magnified, (Psalm xlviii. cxxxviii.) according to thy name. That is, by so much as men know thee in Christ, they magnify thee, and praise thee, which here thou call hallowing or sanctifying, not that thou art the more holy in respect of thyself, but in respect of men, who, the more they know thee, the more they cannot but sanctify thee, that is, they cannot but as in themselves by true faith, love, fear, and spiritual service, honour thee; so also, in their outward behaviour and words, they cannot but live in such sort, as others, seeing them, may in and by their holiness and godly conversation be occasioned to know thee, and to sanctify thy name accordingly. And therefore thou set forth here unto me what is the chief and principal wish and desire of thy children and people, namely, that thou in Christ might be truly known and honoured, both of themselves and of others, inwardly and outwardly. By reason whereof a man may easily perceive that the greatest sorrow and grief thy people have, is ignorance of thee, false service or religion, and wicked conversation: against which they pray and labour diligently after their vocations, as they, for the obtaining of the others, both to others and themselves, take no small pains in prayer, study, and godly exercise. By reason hereof I see that I am far from this desire and lamentation, which is in thy children: I see my ignorance of the true knowledge of thee and thy name; for else it had not needed that thou by thy word should have so revealed thyself. I see also my ignorance of the excellency of the same; for else would thou not have told me, that the sanctifying of thy name is the chief thing thou require of every man. Again, I see me real want of holiness; for else thou need not to teach me to seek and pray for that I want not. Moreover, I see my great perverseness, which would not seek at thy hands for sanctification, although I see my need thereof: for else thou wouldst not have commanded me to pray for it, if I, seeing my want, would have prayed unto thee therefore. Last of all, I see thy wonderful goodness, who wilt undoubtedly give unto me sanctification and holiness; for thou wouldst not that I should ask for that thing which thou wilt not give me; so that I have great cause to lament and rejoice. To lament because I am so far from this desire and lamentation which thy children have; also because of my ignorance, poverty, perversity, unthankfulness, &c., but most of all, because thy holy name, word, and religion, is so blasphemed, both in doctrine and living, by many, especially in this realm. To rejoice, I have great cause, for thy exceeding goodness and mercy, who wouldst so disclose thyself by thy works, words, and gospel, who wouldst open these things thus unto me, and also give unto me and unto others sanctification in thy sight by faith, and also in the sight of men by pureness of life and godly conversation.
But, alas! I heartily do neither the one nor the other, that is, lament and rejoice, as thou, Father, who searches my heart, right well dost know. Oh! be merciful unto me, and forgive me, yea, give me of thine own pity, thy Holy Spirit to reveal and open to my mind effectually my miserable estate and condition; my ignorance, perversity, and my carelessness, for thy true honour and dishonour; in such sort, that I may heartily lament these evils, and have them pardoned and taken from me through Jesus Christ our Lord. Again, good Father, give me the same Holy Spirit to reveal to me thy name, word, and gospel, that I may lively know thee, unfeignedly love thee, heartily obey thee, and, above all things, desire and labour, by all lawful means, that all godliness in doctrine and conversation may be exercised both in me and in all others, for whom thou would I should pray.
(Here think upon the state of religion, and the life of the professors of the gospel, that you may lament for some, pray for some, and give thanks for some.)
Let Thy Kingdom Come.
Thy kingdom is to be considered in two points,ó universally and particularly; universally, according to the power of God, wherewith he governs all things everywhere; in earth, heaven, hell; devils, angels, men, beasts fowls, fishes, and all creatures, animate and inanimate, sensible and insensible. Of this kingdom David spake when he said, "Thy kingdom rules over all." Particularly thy kingdom is to be considered according to thy grace wherewith thou, O Lord, reigns in thy church and elect people, ruling and governing all and every member of thy church to thy glory and their eternal comfort. Not that I exclude thy power out of this church (for as therewith thou defends thy people, so thou punishes thine enemies,) but because thy grace is specially considered, being, as it were, the very keeper that keeps and guides thy people. The time will be, when this kingdom of grace and power, now being distinct, shall be united and made one kingdom of glory, which will be when Christ shall give up his kingdom into thine hands; that is, in the resurrection, when death, the last enemy, shall be subdued, and thou shalt be all in all. In the mean season, this kingdom of grace is miraculously and mightily propagated, enlarged, and governed by the true ministry of thy word and sacraments, through the working of the Holy Spirit. And this is the mean and way, whereby as thou did first plant, so thou dost enlarge, amplify and preserve the same. This kingdom of grace, begun, continued, and enlarged, by the true preaching of thy gospel, and ministration of thy sacraments, is the thing which Christ here teaches thy children to pray for, "that it might come," that is to say, that thy gospel might so mightily, purely, and plenteously be preached; (notwithstanding the opposition of all thine enemies,) that the number of thine elect might be brought in, and so the kingdom of thy glory might appear. So that I see thy children desire, pray, and labour that thy gospel might be truly preached, heard, and lived in themselves, and in others; also they lament the not preaching and refusing, the not living and the unbelieving, thy gospel; yea, they lament the lingering of the coming of thy Christ; for in his coming, they know they shall be like unto him, and having this hope they purify themselves as he in pure. (1 John iii.)
By reason hereof I see first, that I am far from this desire and lamenting, which thy children have. I see my ignorance of thy kingdom and power everywhere, in thy grace in thy church, and of thy glory, when all the enemies of thy grace shall be cast down, and thy glory and power shall embrace each other. I see my ignorance, how acceptable a service to thee is the true preaching and the hearing of thy gospel; for else thou had not needed to have placed this petition next to the petition of the sanctifying of thy name. Again, I see here my inability to enter into thy kingdom, and to attain to it; for else what need should I have to pray for that to come from thee, which otherwise might be achieved? Thirdly, I see also my perversity and contempt of thy kingdom and grace; for although I see my want, yet I should not desire thy kingdom to come, if thou did not command me to pray so; for if I would have prayed for it of myself, thou wouldst not have commanded me. Last of all, I see thy goodness, who wilt bring thy kingdom, and that generally, by sending forth ministers to preach truly, and particularly by regenerating me more and more, and by giving me grace here, and glory elsewhere; for thou wouldst not I should pray for that which thou wilt deny. So that I have great cause to lament and rejoice. To lament, because of my miserable estate and condition, because of my sin, ignorance, rebellion, perversity, Satan's power, contempt of thy grace, thy gospel, and ministry, here or elsewhere. To rejoice, because of thy goodness and great mercy, who hast brought me into thy church, keeps me in it, and wilt do so still. Also because of the ministry of thy word and sacraments, by which the Holy Ghost is, and will be, effectual. And, finally, because of that great glory whereunto thou hast called me, and now wilt give unto me, asking the same. But, alas! how unthankful I am and sorrowless, Lord, thou knows, for my heart is not hid from thee. Oh! be merciful unto me, and forgive me, good Father, and grant the Spirit of thy children, to reveal unto me my ignorance of thy kingdom, my poverty and perversity, that I may lament the same, and daily labour for thy help and thy Holy Spirit, to suppress the kingdom of sin in myself and in others. Again, grant me thy Holy Spirit, to reveal to me thy kingdom of power, grace, and glory, to kindle mine affections, to regenerate me more and more, to reign in me as in a part of thy kingdom, to give to me to desire, to pray, and to labour for thy kingdom; both to myself and to others, effectually to thy glory; and to assure my conscience of thy goodness, that thou wilt give me grace and glory.
(Here call to mind the state of the ministry and ministers, the light and life of gospellers, the errors and heresies which men are entangled withal.)
Thy Will be Done.
As thy power is infinite, so is thy wisdom accordingly; whereby, as we may perceive, that nothing is or can be done against thy power, or otherwise than by it; so is there not, nor can be, any thing done against or otherwise than by thy omnipotent and secret will; which is always, as thou art, good, holy, and just, how far soever it seem otherwise to our foolish reason and judgment: and therefore we are taught to pray, that thy will may be done here, without sin, on man's behalf, as it is on the angels' behalf in heaven.
Again, forasmuch as thou art incomprehensible of thyself, as well concerning thy power as concerning thy wisdom, we may not, according thereto, search thee, but rather adore and worship thy majesty, and tremble at thy judgment and works; and therefore we pray always, that we may be content with thy will, and be obedient thereto. And forasmuch as thou hast revealed to us so much of thy will in thy written word as is necessary for us to know in this life, yea, as much as we can attain unto, and even further, we ought to reckon all things done there against as sin and transgression, although thou can use the same sin to serve thy providence. Of which providence we cannot, and may not, judge further than thou hast and shalt open it unto us; so that this petition, Thy will be done, is not simply to be understood concerning thy omnipotent will unrevealed, against which nothing is or can be done; but rather concerning thy will revealed in thy law and gospel, which thou here teaches me, that we should desire, not only to know it, but also to do it, and that in such perfection and willingness as it is in heaven. Which I perceive hereby, that thy children desire daily in and for themselves and others, and lament the contrary in whomsoever it be; so that their eyes often gush out with rivers of tears, because men keep not thy laws. Psalm cxix.
By reason hereof I see that I am far from the sighs and tears of thy people. I see my ignorance of thy will, if thou had not opened the same by thy own mouth. I see my ignorance, how acceptable a service obedience to thy will is, and therefore thou dost place this petition among the first and continual desires of thy children. Again, I see my poverty in godly obedience, who have need to be taught to pray for it, thereby to signify unto me my want and inability to attain it, but by thy gift. Thirdly, I see my disobedience: for thou never wouldst have commanded me to have prayed for the doing of thy will, if I, seeing my want, would have prayed so.
Last of all, I see thy goodness, which will give to me and others to obey thy will; that is, to love thee with all our hearts, to love our neighbour as ourselves, to die to ourselves, to live to thee, to take up our cross, and follow thee, to believe, to repent; for else thou wouldst never have commanded us to pray for a thing which we should not look for.
So that I have great cause to lament and rejoice. To lament, because of my miserable state and condition, because of my sin, ignorance, poverty, and perversity; also because thy will everywhere is either not known or contemned, and Satan's willóthe will of the world and of the flesh, is readily obeyed. To rejoice, I have great cause, for that thou hast opened thyself and thy will unto man-kind; for that also thou peculiarly hast taught me these things, and because also thou wilt grant me grace to do the same. But, alas! how unthankful I am, and how hard-hearted, thou Lord dost know. Oh! be merciful unto me, and forgive me. I pray thee, gracious God, grant me thy Holy Spirit, to reveal to me my ignorance of thy will, my poverty and perversity, that I may heartily bewail it, and by thy help and working of the same Spirit may suppress the will of the flesh. Again, grant me thy Holy Spirit, to reveal to me thy will declared in thy law and gospel, that I may truly know the same, and so inflame my affections, that I may will and love the same, so that it may be my meat and drink to do thy will.
Here call to mind the ten commandments of God, particularly or generally, what he requires therein, and pray for the same particularly as you see your need, and that not only for yourself, but also for others.
Pray for patience to suffer whatever cross God shall lay upon you, and pray for them that are under the cross, that they may be patient. Pray for spiritual wisdom in every cross, privately or publicly, that you may see and love God's will.
Give us this Day our daily Bread.
By bread, as the food of the body, all things necessary for this corporeal life are understood, as meat, drink, health, success in our callings, &c. By this word give, we should understand that not only spiritual things, but also corporeal benefits are God's free gifts, and come not for our worthiness, or travail (labour, editor) taken about the same, although our travails oftentimes are means by which God does give corporeal things.
By daily, are understood the contented minds of thy children, O Lord, with that which is sufficient for the present time, as having hope in thee, that they shall not want, but that they shall daily receive at thy hands plenty and enough of all things. By the word our, are public benefits understood, as peace in the common weal, good magistrates, seasonable weather, good laws, &c. as well as particular benefits, such as children, health, name, success in the works of our vocations &c. And besides this, by it we should see the care even in corporeal things, which thy children have for others as well as for themselves.
So that here I may learn how far I am from what I should be, and what I see thy children are come unto. I see my ignorance also, that as spiritual things come from thee, so do temporal things; and as they come from thee, so they are conferred and kept of thee. And therefore thy children are thankful and look for them, as thy mere gifts, notwithstanding the means which they use if they have them. Howbeit they use them but as means, for except thou work therewith, all is in vain. Ps. cxxvii.
Again, here I am taught to be content with sufficient for the present time, as thy children are, which have the shortness of this life always before their eyes, and therefore they ask but for daily sustenance, knowing this life to be compared to a day, yea, a watch (a short space of time, Psalm xc. 4., editor), a sound, a shadow, &c. Moreover, I may learn to see the compassion and brotherly care thy children have one for another. Last of all, here I may see thy goodness, by which thou wilt give me all things necessary for this life (or else thou would not bid me ask, &c.) and thou commands all men to pray and care for me, and that bodily, much more then, if they are able, they are commanded to help me both in body and soul. By reason whereof I have great cause to lament and rejoice; to lament, because I am not so affected as thy children are, because of my ignorance, my ingratitude, my perversity, and contempt of thy goodness, and of the necessity of thy people, who; alas! are in great misery, some in exile, some in prison, some in poverty, sickness, &c. (This was written during the persecutions of queen Mary, editor.) To rejoice, I have great cause, because of thy goodness, in teaching me these things, in commanding me to ask whatsoever I want, in giving me so many things unasked, in keeping the benefits given me, in commanding men to care for me, to pray for me, to help me, &c. But, alas! how far I am from true lamentation and rejoicing, Lord, thou knows. Oh! be merciful unto me, and help me, forgive me, and grant me thy Holy Spirit, to reveal to me my need, ignorance, great ingratitude and contempt of thy mercies and thy people; and that in such a manner that I may heartily lament and bewail my misery, and through thy goodness be brought with thy people to mourn for the miseries of thy children as for mine own.
Again, reveal to me thy goodness, dear Father, even in corporeal things, that I may see thy mercies, thy presence, power, wisdom, and righteousness, in every creature and in corporeal benefits, and that in such sort, that I may be thoroughly affected, truly to reverence, fear, love, obey thee, to hang upon thee, to be thankful to thee, and in all my need to come unto thee; not only when I have ordinary means by which thou commonly works, but when I have none, yea, when all are entirely against me.
Here remember the state of your children and family; also your parents, neighbours, kinsfolks; also your friends, country, and magistrates, &c. as you shall have time thereto and by God's good Spirit shall be excited.
Forgive us our Debts, as we Forgive them that are Debtors unto us.
By our debts are understood, not only things we have done, but the omission and leaving undone of the good things we ought to do.
By our, are not only the particular sins of one understood, but also generally the sins of all and every one of thy church.
By forgiveness are free pardon and remission of sins understood, by the merits and deserts of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for us.
By our forgiving other men's offences towards us is understood thy good will, not only that it pleases thee that we should live in love and amity, but also that thou wouldst have us be certain of thy pardoning us our sins. For as we are certain that we pardon them that offend us, so should we be certain that thou dost pardon us, whereof the forgiving our trespasses is (as it were) a sacrament unto us.
So that by this petition I am taught to see that thy children, although by imputation they are pure from sin, yet they acknowledge sin to be and to remain in them, and therefore they pray for remission and forgiveness.
Again, I am taught hereby to see how thy children consider and take to heart, not only the evils they do, but also the good they leave undone. And therefore they pray to thee heartily for pardon.
Moreover, I am here taught to see that thy children are careful for other men, and for their trespasses; and( therefore pray that they may be pardoned, in saying our sins, and not my sins.
Besides this, I am taught here to see, how thy children not only forgive all that offend them, but also pray for the pardoning of the offences of their enemies, and such as offend them; so far are they from malice, pride; revenge, &c. Last of all, I am taught to see how merciful thou art, who wilt have me to ask pardon; whereof thou wouldst that we should in no point doubt, but be most assured, that for Christ's sake thou hears us, and that not only for ourselves, but also for many others; for thou dost not command us to ask for any thing thou wilt not give us.
By reason whereof I have great cause to lament and rejoice. To lament, because of my miserable state, who am so far from the affections that are in thy children,ówho am so ignorant and careless of sin, not only in leaving good undone, but also in doing evil, and that daily in thought, word, and deed. I speak not of my carelessness for other folk's sins, as those of my parents, children, family, magistrates, &c., neither of the sins of them to whom I have given occasion to sin.
To rejoice, I have great cause, because of thy mercy in opening to me these things, in commanding me to pray for pardon, in promising me pardon, and in commanding others to pray for me. I ought surely to be persuaded of thy mercy, though my sins are innumerable. For I see not only in this, but in every petition, that every one of thy church prays for me; yea, even Christ thy Son, who sits on thy right hand, prays for me. Oh! dear Father, be merciful unto me, and forgive me all my sins, and of thy goodness give me thy Holy Spirit, to open mine eyes, that I may see sin, the better to know it the more truly to hate it, and most earnestly to strive against it, and that effectually, both in myself and others.
Again, grant me thy Holy Spirit to reveal unto me the remedy of sin, by Christ alone; and to work in me by faith to embrace thy Christ and thy mercies in him; that I may henceforth be endued with thy Holy Spirit more and more, to begin and obey thy good will continually, and to increase in the same for ever.
Here call to mind the special sins you have committed heretofore. Remember, if you have occasioned any to sin, to pray for them by name; remember that God's law should be so near unto us, that the breaking thereof in others should be an occasion to make us to lament with tears, &c.
Lead us not into Temptation, but Deliver us from Evil.
Because of our continual and great infirmities, because of the great diligence and subtlety of our enemies, and because thou art wont to punish sin with sin, (which of all punishments is the greatest and most to be feared,) in this petition thou would have thy children keep the same in remembrance, and for a remedy hereof thou hast appointed prayer. So that the only cause why any are overcome, and led into temptation, is because they forget what they desire in the petition going before this, which should be never out of their memory, to provoke them to be more thankful to thee, and more vigilant and careful hereafter of falling into like perils, for the avoiding of which thou dost most graciously set forth a remedy, in commanding us to pray for pardon of our sins past, for thy grace to guide us; so that we he not led into temptation, but be delivered from evil. And because thou would have all thy children hang wholly upon thee, fear thee only, and love thee only, thou dost not teach them to pray, "Suffer us not to be led, but "lead us not into temptation," that they might alone fear thee. I certainly know that Satan has no power over so much as the swine, (Matt. viii.;) but whatsoever thou gives unto him, and of thy secret but most just judgment dost appoint him to use. Not as he will, (for then we were all lost,) but as thou wilt, who can will nothing but that which is most just; so as to give them to the guiding of Satan, which will not be guided by thy grace, as thou did Saul.
Occasions to evil are of two sorts; one by prosperity and success, the other by adversity and the cross. The evils coming of success, commonly are unthankfulness, pride, security, and forgetting ourselves, forgetfulness of others, forgetfulness of God, of our mortality. The evils coming of adversity, commonly are impatience, murmuring, grudging, despairing, contemning of God, flattering of men, stealing, and lying, with many other evils, whereto temptations will entice a man that is left to himself; whereas, to one that is guided by God's Spirit, temptations are only trials to the glory of God, the comfort of the tempted, and the edifying of thy church. But, as I said, if a man is left alone, temptations entice even to the devil himself; and therefore thy children pray to be delivered from evil, understanding thereby Satan himself, the sower and supporter of all evil. And this thy children do, as well for others as for themselves, so that I may learn here-from many good things.
First, often to remember our infirmities and weakness, and the dangerous state we stand in, in respect of our flesh; of the world, which is full of evil; of Satan, who seeks to sift us, and as a roaring lion to destroy us; and of our sins, which deserve all kinds of punishment and correction, that I may with thy children fear thee, watch, pray, and desire the day of redemption from all evils.
Again, I may learn here, that to avoid all dangers and evils, is not in the power of man, but only thy work. By reason whereof I should consider thy great goodness, who hitherto hast kept me from so many evils, both of soul and body; yea, of name, goods, &c., as thou hast done in my infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, &c.
Thirdly, I may learn here, that I should be careful for others, both that they might be delivered from their evils, and that they might be preserved from temptation, and from being overcome in the same; and therefore thou teaches me to pray, not merely "deliver me from evil," but "deliver us from evil."
Last of all, I am taught hereby to see thy goodness towards me, who wilt deliver me from evil, and from being overcome in temptations; for thou would not have me ask for that which I should not look for at thy hands certainly. By reason whereof thou would have me to be in a certainty of salvation for ever: for I cannot believe my prayer to be heard, if I should not finally be delivered from evil; and therefore thou joins hereto a giving of thanks, which, with thy church, I should say, For thine is tiie kingdom, thine is the power, thine is this glory for ever.
By reason whereof I have great cause to lament and to rejoice. To lament, because of my corruption, infirmity, weakness, oblivion and carelessness for thy people, ingratitude, &c., because of Satan's power, vigilance, and prudence (subtlety,, editor), which have overcome many most grave, wise, and holy men, whereof some were never recovered. To rejoice, because of thy goodness, who teaches me this, and shows me the remedy; commands all thy church to pray for me, and wilt at length deliver me from all evil, and give me glory. But, alas! I am altogether careless and miserable. Oh! be merciful unto me, dear Father, and for Christ's sake forgive me all my sins; grant me thy Holy Spirit to reveal to me mine infirmities, weakness, perils, and dangers, in such sort, that I may heartily lament my miseries, and may ask and obtain thy grace to guide me from all evil for evermore.
Again, grant me thy Holy Spirit to reveal to me thy love and kindness towards me, (and that in eternity,) so that I may be thoroughly persuaded of the same, become thankful unto thee, and daily expect and look for the revelation of thy kingdom, power, and glory, as one that for ever shall have the enjoyment of the same, through thine own goodness and mercy in Christ, prepared for me before the beginning and foundation of the world were laid.
Here call to mind our security, Satan's vigilance, our negligence, his diligence, our infirmity, his ability, our ignorance, his craftiness and subtlety.
Also, call to mind how that he has overthrown for a time many of the dear saints of God, to whom we are to be compared in nothing.
Also, call to mind the goodness of God, and of our Shepherd Christ, who has kept us hitherto, keeps us still, and teaches us here to know that he will keep us for ever. For he would not have us ask for deliverance from evil, if he would not that we should certainly look for the same. If thou doubt of final perseverance, thou dishonours God. Be certain therefore, rest in hope, be still in his word. See also how he has commanded his whole church, and every member thereof, to pray for thee as well as for themselves, in these and all other things.
Now and then reckon how many and divers kinds of evils there are, that thereby, as you may know you are delivered from none, but by God's great goodness, so you may see that the number of evils which you have, are nothing to be compared to the multitude of evils wherewith (if your Christ were not) the devil would betray and daub you.
But what are all the miseries and evils that can be when compared to the least joys prepared for us in heaven? Oh! think of those joys, and pray that when the tide of death comes, we may sail forth from the haven of this flesh and this world joyfully. In praying this petition, call to mind the evils you have been in, the evils you are in, and the evils you may fall into, if God should not preserve you, that you may be stirred up the more to thankfulness, to prayer, to trust in God, to modesty, &c.
For Thine is the Kingdom, Thine is the Power, Thine is the Glory for ever.
As, in the beginning of this prayer, by the words our Father which art in heaven, thy children are excited and stirred up to a full confidence of obtaining the petitions which follow, and all things necessary; so, in the latter end, thou hast added for the same purpose these words, For thine is the kingdom, &c.; wherein I am taught many things. First, that in prayer I should have such consideration of thy kingdom, power, glory, and eternity, that my mind should be stricken with admiration of the same. Secondly that I should so consider them, especially in prayer, that I should not doubt but that thou works, rules, and governs all things everywhere, in all persons and creatures, most wisely, justly, and mercifully. Thirdly, that in prayer all my petitions should tend to the setting forth of thy power, of thy kingdom, and of thy glory. Last of all, that in prayer I should in no wise doubt of being heard, but be assured that thou, who hast commanded me to pray, and hast promised to hear me, dost most graciously, for thy mercy's sake and truth's sake, hear my petitions, according to thy good will, through Jesus Christ thy dear Son, our Lord and only Saviour. By reason whereof I have great cause to lament and rejoice. To lament, because I consider not these things in prayer in such a manner as should move me to admiration and gratitude; because I consider not thy power and wisdom generally in all things; because I am so careless for thy kingdom, and because I am so full of dubitation and doubting of thy goodness. To rejoice, I have great cause, because thou reveals these things unto me in this manner; because of thy power, kingdom, and glory, which cause my prayers to he heard, and help me; because thou wilt use me as thine instrument to set forth the kingdom, powers and glory, and because it pleases thee to hear my prayers, and thou assuredly wilt save me for ever.
But, alas! how far am I from these lamentations and rejoicings! by reason whereof I deserve damnation. Oh! be merciful unto me, and forgive me, and of thy goodness grant me thy Holy Spirit to reveal to me my blindness oblivion, and contempt of thy kingdom, power, and glory, with the greatness of my doubtings, that I may heartily lament them, and have them pardoned, and taken from me, through the merits of Jesus Christ thy Son.
Again, give me thy Holy Spirit. so to reveal to me thy kingdom, power, glory, and eternity, that I may always have the same before mine eyes, be moved with admiration thereof, labour effectually to set forth the same and finally, have the enjoyment thereof after this life, increasing in an assured, certain, and lively expectation of the same, that I may always, and in all things, rejoice in thee through Christ, and give loud, thanks, and praises perpetually unto thy most holy name, O blessed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three persons and one God, to whom be all honour and glory world without end.
Here think, that if the kingdom, power, glower, and eternity be God's who is our Father, what our dignity is, who are his children. If the power is our Fathers, of whom should we be afraid? If the devil is subject to the Lord's power and kingdom, (as he is,) how can the subject have power over us, who are sons and heirs, since he has not power even over swine, without the providence and permission of God? Wherefore full well should we pray, "lead us not into temptation," rather than "Let us not be led into temptation." For power is the Lord's, and the devil has none but what he has of God's gift. No; he were not able to receive power, if God did not make him able, although the execution of it is rather of God's permission.
Give all thanks, praise, and glory to God our Father through Christ our Lord and Saviour. So be it.
Upon the Twelve Articles of the Christian Faith
I Believe in God the Father, &c.
O Lord God, the Father of our Saviour Jesus Christ, thy people in saying this article, I believe in God the Father Almighty, &c., by faith know that thou, together with Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, did create all things that are in heaven and in earth, for by heaven and earth are understood all things therein. And as they know this, so they by the same faith do see thee the same God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, governing all things after thy great wisdom, power, righteousness, and mercy, and using every creature they see as means to put them in remembrance of fearing, reverencing, trusting, and loving thee; for in every creature they behold thy presence, power, wisdom, and mercy.
Again, by this word Father, they declare their belief that they are not only thy creatures, and that all they have is thy gracious gift and blessing; but also that they are thy children, dearly beloved, and cared for of thee through Jesus Christ; whereby, (notwithstanding their unworthiness,) as they conceive a sure hope of thy goodness and fatherly love towards them, in soul and body for ever so they are thankful for their creation, and also that thou hast made them thy excellent creatures, lords of all. They are thankful for the creation of all creatures, and use them with thankfulness, as visible tokens of thy invisible love. They are thankful for thy preserving and keeping them, and for thy governing them and all the world, lamenting that they are no more thankful, that they believe no deeper; and that reason (human reasoning, unbelief, editor) has so great power with them in these matters.
But, most gracious good Lord and Father, though I say, I believe in thee, my father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, yet thou knows that I am full of much doubting, not only whether thou art my good, Almighty, and most loving dear Father in Christ, because I feel in myself such a consciousness of unworthiness, and such great want of the things which thou requires of thy children, (and so I transfer the cause of my being thy child in part to myself, whereas it is due only and wholly always to thy mercy anal grace in Christ,)óbut also thou knows my doubting of my creation and governance, and of the creation and governance of all this world, as I declare by my unthankfulness for my creation, for mine adoption, for my gubernation (being governed or guided, editor), for thy providence for me. Or else, dear Father, I could not but heartily with thy children rejoice and praise thy holy name, and that continually; being henceforth anxious for nothing but how to please thee, and profit thy people, and that they might praise thy name in all things for evermore, desiring the sanctification of thy name, the coming of thy kingdom, the doing of thy will upon earth as it is in heaven.
Thou might have made me a dog. but of thy goodness hast made me a creature after thine image. Thou might have made me a Turk, a Jew, a Saracen, but thou hast made me a Christian, a member of thy church. Thou, after my birth, might have left me, and in all need have made no provision for me, as we sometimes see has happened unto others; but yet thou never did so with me, and yet I am of all others most unthankful.
Thy creatures I use not thankfully; I consider not thy invisible love by thy manifold visible tokens, as I now should by this apparel of my body, by this bodily health, by this light, by this my hearing, seeing, feeling, memory, understanding, time, place, company, creatures. and benefits; as well in keeping innumerable evils from me, both in soul and body, which else could not but come to me; as also in giving to me now so many things, which without thy especial grace and working I never could have had, or could keep. In thy creatures I see not thy power, for I fear thee not; I see not thy presence, for I reverence thee not; I see not thy wisdom, for I adore thee not; I see not thy mercy, for I love thee not; I praise thee not but in lips and tongue. Therefore in all that thy creatures do teach me, they cry out upon me to be thankful to thee, to love, fear, serve thee, and trust in thee, and that continually; and since I do not so, they cannot but cry out upon me and against me in thy sight, and in the day of judgment they will arm themselves against me.
Oh that I now considered this! Oh that my blind eyes and my deaf ears were opened! Oh that my miserable and foolish heart were made wise and converted! This thou alone can do who hast all men's hearts in thy hands, to bow than as pleases thee. Bow my heart, good Lord, into thy testimonies. Open my eyes. Make me to hear, for thy mercy's sake, that I may believe and so love thee, be thankful to thee, amend in all things and serve thee, though not as thy dear servants do, yet at the least as brute creatures do; that is, to obey thee and to be profitable to others.
Now forasmuch as my sins hinder this, and all good things from me, I beseech thee to pardon me all my sins according to thy gracious promise, for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, &c.
Thy servants, O Christ Jesus, and thy people, know by faith, that as thou art almighty and God with the Father, by whom all things were made and are ruled; for thou art God eternal, co-equal and co-substantial with the Father and the Holy Ghost; so also thou art man, and hast taken our nature upon thee by the operation of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and art become the blessed seed who hast bruised the serpent's head, (Gen. iii.;) the blessed seed in whom all nations are blessed, (Gen. xxii.;) the prophet whom Moses prophesied of, (Deut. xviii.;) the pattern he saw in the mount, (Exod. xxv.;) the truth and body of all the types, figures, and shadows of the old law; the Messias, Christ, and Saviour of thy people; the Advocate and Redeemer; the pacifier of God's wrath for sins, the opener of heaven, and the giver of everlasting life.
This they know thou brought to pass in thy human nature, by thy incarnation and nativity, by thy being here on earth, by thy living, teaching, fasting, praying, especially by thy suffering under Pontius Pilate; by thy deaths; burial, resurrection, ascension into the heavens, and reigning on the right hand of the Father, from whence thou shall come to judge both the quick and the dead. And as they know this, so by faith they apply it also to themselves, that for their sake thou hast made man, did pray, fast, was tempted, did die, did rise again, and ascend into heaven; and there art set their Advocate, Bishop, and High priest, always appearing in God's sight for them, from whence they look for thee, knowing that thou wilt not enter into judgment with them to condemn them, who did suffer condemnation thyself for them.
By this faith they feel these affections in themselves, namely, the hatred of sin, the fear of God, the love of God, trust in thee, and love to thy church. The hatred of sin they feel, because it is so foul a thing that it could not be washed away with any other thing than with than precious blood-sheddingóthe fear of God, because his anger is so great against sin, that no less price could pacify his wrath than their most painful deathóthe love of God, because he has so loved them, that he would not spare thee, his dear Son, for them, even when they were his enemiesótrust in thee, because thou had no respect to thyself, but most willingly gave thyself wholly to be our Saviour and servantólove to thy people and church, because generally and particularly in every member of the same they see how dear they are to thee, and therefore they cannot but be so to them. Oh how they imitate and follow thy footsteps! How they rejoice when they are by affliction made like to thee! Oh how they lament their sins, ingratitude, unbelief; how they love thee, and wholly yield themselves up to thee! Whereas I, O gracious God, and dear Saviour, Jesus Christ, though I say I believe in thee, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, yet, alas! I do but babble this, for nothing is in me but unbelief. Of thy power and love, of thine anger and mercy, I have but an opinion, as my insensibleness and unthankfulness declare.
If a man should show me friendship but in a trifle, or suffer anything at all for me, I could not but be thankful: thou, besides my creation, hast redeemed me, and brought me into the number of God's children, than which nothing is greater, and lo! I am unthankful.
Thou hast suffered much for me; from heaven thou came into earth to fetch me into heaven, but I, alas, regard it not.
Thou did bear my sins on thy back, suffering a most bitter death; but I am so far from thankfulness, that I loath thee still more and more.
Thou would enter into communion with me, taking my nature unto thee, concerning the substance thereof, that I might enter into communion with thee concerning the qualities wherewith in thyself thou hast endued it, but I consider it not.
Thou did die to deliver me from death, but I still more and more give thee cause to die, so ungrateful am I.
Thou did rise to justify me, but I with the Jews would still keep thee down, because I would not leave my wickedness.
Thou ascended to heaven to take possession for me there, to be always in the sight of thy Father for me, to send me down gifts, and to pray for me; but I daily am pulling thee down again, as much as I am able. I am altogether earthly; I hide myself out of thy sight by forgetting thee; I reject and abuse thy gifts; I neglect prayer.
Thou art now in readiness to come to judge both quick and dead, but I tremble not at this, nor beseech thee before thou comes to be merciful unto me, and not to enter into judgment with me. Yea, I think nothing at all of thy coming: the wicked consider not the end, they think not on thy judgments.
Thou would bring me to thy Father, that I might find grace; but I put this off, and therefore am worthy to feel thee a Judge, who refuse to feel thee a Saviour.
Now the cause of all these things is unbelief, which though it is natural, by reason of the corruption of our nature, yet I have augmented the same maliciously, in not labouring against it, and by continuing in all sin and wickedness, by reason whereof I deserve most justly thy anger thereon, even rejection from thy face for ever.
Long hast thou mourned, even with displeasure and anger, the incredulity of my heart; calling me therefrom, and offering me thy grace, which I have neglected and rejected, and therefore am never worthy to have it any more offered unto me; much more, then, I am unworthy to have grace given me to receive thy mercy.
Alas! what shall I do? Shall I despair, or, as long as I can, keep unmindful of my misery? O Saviour Christ Jesus, wilt not thou be merciful unto me? Thou did die for me when I deserved it not, and is thy mercy now shortened? Wilt not thou give me thy grace, and take from my heart this horrible unbelief? Shall I never love thee? Shall I never hate sin? Shall I never, as with my mouth I say, I believe in Jesus Christ, so in heart say the same? Shall Satan possess me for ever? O Christ Jesus, who hast led captivity captive, wilt not thou help me? Though I desire it not as I should, yet give me to desire when thou wilt.
Thou did appear to destroy the work of the devil. Thou sees his work in me; good Christ, destroy his work, but not thy work. Save me, for thy great mercies' sake. Give me to believe in thee, in thy death, resurrection, and ascension. Pardon me my sins, and now mortify in me my corrupt affections. Raise me up and justify me. Regenerate me daily more and more. Give me faith of immortality, and the resurrection of this body. Give me faith to ascend into heaven, and to be certain that thou hast already taken possession of me there. Give me to look for thy coming, and to be ready for thy coming! to find mercy to everlasting life.
I believe in the Holy Ghost.
O Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, who did descend upon Christ our Saviour in his baptism in the likeness of a dove; thy children know that with the Father and the Son thou made and rules all creatures, visible and invisible; they know thee in their redemption to be no less willing and loving than the Father and the Son; for thou did always declare Christ to be the Son of God, and gayest testimony inwardly in the hearts of thy elect to believe and embrace the same; and outwardly, by miracles and wonders, they know thee to be the conformer and governor whom Christ promised in his corporeal absence to teach, rule, keep, comfort, and govern his church and people.
Again, as in the former part of their belief they consider the works of creation and redemption; so in this part they consider the place where the same is most effectual and takes place, even thy holy church, which is catholic; that is, extending itself to all times, to all places, to all kinds of people.
For in this church alone they know that as all things were made, so the work of redemption was taken in hand, that the blessed Trinity might in this church be praised, magnified, served, and worshipped for ever.
This church is nothing but a communion and society of saints; that is, not only a society of all such as are, have been, or shall be thy people, but also a society or partaking of Christ Jesus, who is the Head of the same. Yea, by him of thee, O blessed Father! who art the Head of Christ, and of thee, O Holy Ghost! who now shadows and sits upon the same, to hatch and cherish it, as the hen her chickens, by the extending of thy wings, not only to defend them from their enemies, but also to cover their sins, and to remit them in this life. Beginning also here the resurrection of the flesh and everlasting life, which thou wilt consummate in the end of the world so that they shall not need to be covered for sin; for then shall they be pure and have glorious bodies immortal and spiritual, which shall have the fruition of eternal joy, life everlasting, and glory, such as the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, nor the heart of man can conceive. For then Christ Jesus shall give up his kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all; concerning the governance of it by the ministration of his word, and other means, whereby now he governs it, that it may be his Father's kingdom, we being become like unto him, (1 John iii. :) that is, as the Godhead is united to the manhood of Christ, and is all in all without any other means; even so God shall be in us, assuming not only in the person of Christ the human nature, but also all the human nature of his church, who are members of Christ; the wicked and reprobate being separated from this communion, and cast into eternal perdition with Satan and antichrist, there to be in torments and horror for ever.
By reason of this their faith they are thankful to thee, O Holy Spirit, who hast taught them this, and given them to believe it.
By reason of this faith they pray, love, and help thy church here militant, and labour to be holy.
By reason of this faith they confess themselves sinners, they desire and believe the pardon of their sins, they are risen and rise daily concerning the inward man, and feel the life eternal begun in them, more and more labouring, praying, wishing for, and desiring the same, wholly and perfectly.
Whereas, O Lord God and most gracious Holy Spirit, thou knows that it is otherwise with me. I do but babble with my lips in saying I believe in the Holy Ghost, for I am unthankful for calling me into thy church; I do not live holily; I confess not, I lament not my sins, I pray not for remission of them, I stand in doubt thereof, I feel not myself risen from a sinful life as I should be. I feel not life begun in me as it is in thy dear children, and I doubt hereof, whether I have pardon of my sins, whether I am regenerate, whether I truly feel everlasting life: this most displeases thee, and yet with my tongue I say, I believe in the Holy Ghost. Oh, I beseech thee, good Holy Spirit, for thy love's sake, which moved thee to agree and be willing to pacify and open the goodness, not only in the work of creation (Gen. i. ii.; but also in the work of redemption, and therefore did descend and abide not only upon Christ in his baptism, but also on the apostles and church, in fiery tongues, visibly, the fiftieth day after Christ's resurrection; as now thou dost invisibly, generally, and particularly, sit upon thy church and children, being the consoler, the comforter, the teacher, and leader, the guider and governor of us all.
For this thy love's sake, I say, I beseech thee to be merciful unto me, and forgive me my doubting, unbelief, and horrible monstrous uncleanness and sin, and utterly take them from me. Bring me into thy church which thou guides; that is, guide me, make me holy, and by faith unite me to Christ, by charity to thy people; that is, give me the communion of saints with thy saints, overshadow my sins, raise me up to righteousness, begin in me everlasting life, and give me now more and more to expect and look for all these great mercies, and at length to possess eternal felicity with thee, O blessed Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three persons and one almighty eternal, most just, wise, and good God; to whom be all glory, power and dominion, now and for ever!
Upon the Commandments
I am the Lord thy God, Which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, &c.
O good Lord and dear Father, who brought thy people of Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand and a stretched-out power, who gayest thy law upon Mount Sinai in great thundering, lightning, and fire; who spoke by the prophets, and did send thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, co-equal and co-substantial with thee in power, majesty, and glory, to take upon him our nature by the operation of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of whose substance he was made and born man, but pure, without sin; that we, by birth children of wrath, by him might be made thy children, children of graceócommunicating with him righteousness, holiness, and immortality, by the working of the Spirit, as he communicated with us flesh and blood (but not infected with sin, as ours is,) by the working of the same Holy Spirit; which Spirit, after his bitter death, resurrection, and ascension into the heavens, he sent plentifully, and by a visible sign, unto his apostles and disciples; by whom he published the gospel throughout the whole world, and so continually has done from age to age, does, and will do unto the end of the world, by the ministry of preaching. Thou would that we should know and believe that thou, this Almighty Lord and God, who hast thus revealed and opened thyself, art the one only, very true and eternal almighty God, who made and rules heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible, together with this thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit, con-substantial and co-eternal with thee, dear Father. And not only this, but also thou would that I should know and believe, that by the same, thy dearly beloved Son, thou hast brought me from the tyranny and captivity of Satan and this sinful world, whereof the captivity of Egypt under Pharaoh was a figure; and in his blood shed upon the cross thou hast made a covenant with me, which thou wilt never forget, that thou art and wilt be my Lord and my God; that is, thou wilt forgive me my sins, and be wholly mine, with all thy power, wisdom, righteousness, truth, glory, and mercy. Wherefore. although I might confirm my faith by the innumerable mercies hitherto poured upon me most abundantly, as thy children of Israel might have done, and did confirm their faith by the manifold benefits poured upon then in the desert; yet specially the seal of thy covenant, I mean thy holy sacrament of baptism, wherein thy holy name was not in vain called upon me (O dear Father, sweet Son and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and most gracious good Holy Ghost,) should most assuredly confirm, and even on all sides seal up my faith of this covenant, that thou art my Lord and my God. Even as Abraham and thy people of Israel did by the sacrament of circumcision, which as the apostle called the seal or signal of righteousness, so dost thou call it; being but the sign of thy covenant indeed, yet thy very covenant; because as thy word is most true and cannot lie, as thy covenant is a covenant of peace infallible and everlasting, even so the sacrament and seal of the same is a most true testimonial and witness thereof.
Thou, the Almighty God, of thine own goodness hast vouchsafed not only to make me a creature after thine own image and likeness, who might have made me a beastó to give unto me a reasonable soul endued with memory, judgment, &c. who might have made me an idiot, without wit or discretion, &c.óto endue me with a body beautified with right shape, limbs, health, &c. who might have made me a cripple, lame, blind, &c.ógraciously to enrich me concerning fortune, friends, living, name, &c. who might have made me a slave, destitute of all friends and helps for this life. But also thou hast vouchsafed that I, being a miserable creature, born in sin, conceived in iniquity, to whom nothing is due (more than to a Turk, Jews or Saracen) but eternal damnation, should be called into the number of thy people, enrolled in thy book, and now in thy covenant, so that thou, with all that ever thou hast, art mine; for which cause's sake hitherto thou hast kept me, cherished, defended, spared, and fatherly chastised me, and now graciously dost keep me and care for me, giving me to live, to be, and move in thee, expecting also and waiting how thou might show mercy upon me. (Isaiah xxx.) In consideration of this, most justly and reasonably thou requires that, as thou art my Lord God, so I should be thy servant and one of thy people. As thou hast given thyself wholly unto me, to be mine, with all thy power, wisdom, &c. (for he that gives himself gives all he has,) so should I be wholly thine, and give over myself unto thee, to be guided by thy wisdom, defended by thy power, helped, relieved, nod comforted by thy mercy.
First therefore to begin withal, thou commands that I should have none other gods in thy sight; that is to say, I should have thee for my Lord and God, and look for all good things most assuredly at thy hands, and therefore I should put all my trust in thee, be thankful unto thee, love thee, fear thee, obey thee, and call upon thy holy name in all my needs; and I should give this faith, love, fear, obedience, thankfulness and invocation, or prayer, to none other, no, not in my heart, but only to thee or for thee, where thou commands. To do all this, O Lord God, and that with most joyful heart, I have great cause.
For what a thing is it, that thou, Jehovah, would vouchsafe to make me, as thou hast done; to give thy Son for me, and to become my God! Oh! what am I, that thou would I should put my trust in thee? This thou does, that I might never be confounded, but might be most happy. What am I, that thou would I should fear thee, when the only cause why thou requires this of me, is not only because thou hast power to cast both body and soul into hellfire, and because they that fear thee not shall perish, but also that thou might give me thy wisdom, that it might go well with me in the evil day, that thou might reveal thy Son to me, and that thy mercy might be upon me from generation to generation. Oh! what am I, that thou would have me obey thee, not only that I should never perish with the disobedient, but that thou might give me thy Holy Spirit, and rewards innumerable? Oh! what am I, that thou would I should love thee? which thing thou dost that I might fully and wholly enjoy and possess thee; and therefore dost thou require my whole heart, that I might dwell in thee, and thou in me. What am I, that thou would I should call upon thee: Verily, because thou wilt give me whatsoever I shall ask of thee in the name of thy dear child Jesus Christ; even so thou would have me thankful, that thou might pour out upon me, yet more plentifully, all good things. So that I have great cause to put my trust in thee, to love, fear, and obey thee, to call upon thee, to be thankful unto thee, not only in respect of the hurt which else will ensue, but also in respect of the advantage which hereby comes unto me; but most of all, yea, alone for thy own sake, for thy goodness, wisdom, beauty, strength and power, truth and great mercies.
But, alas! dear Father, what shall I say? As in times past I have horribly broken this thy law, by trusting in the creatures, calling upon them, loving, fearing, and obeying many things besides thee, and rather than thee; even so at this present time I am a most miserable wretch: I am blinded through unbelief and mine own wickedness; so that I see not firmly this thy power, wisdom, goodness, &c., but waver and doubt of it. I love thee little or nothing; I fear thee less, I obey thee least of all; thankfulness and prayer are utterly quenched in me; and therefore I deserve eternal damnation. If thou shalt deal with me only according to thy justice, I am, O Lord, condemned and lost for ever, for I am very wicked; but yet, inasmuch as thou hast given thy Son Jesus Christ to be a propitiatory sacrifice slain for the sins of the whole world, so that he which believes in him shall not perish, but be saved (for so thou hast promised,) thy truth now requires thee to save me. Howbeit, here thou may say to me, that I do not believe; and therefore, notwithstanding thy truth and promise, since I believe it not, thou may most justly, according to thy justice, condemn me. O Lord God, to this I cannot otherwise answer, (my unbelief is so great,) but because thy mercy is over all thy works, and all creatures most highly commend and magnify thy goodness and love, as wherefore thou art called God; because thou art right good, and love itselfóbecause of this thy mercy, gracious God, if thou wilt look thereon, and unite thy truth therewith then, good Lord, I shall be saved, and praise thy named for evermore.
Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven Image, &c.
As the first commandment teaches me, that thou art my God, and what God thou art, and therefore I ought to have none other gods but thee. That is, I should hang on thee alone, trust in thee, love thee, serve thee, call upon thee, obey thee, be thankful to thee, so because thou did reveal thyself visibly, that thou might visibly be worshipped, this commandment is concerning thy worship, that in worshipping thee, in no point I should follow the device or intent of any man, saint, angel, or spirit, but should consider all such to be idolatry and image-service, be it ever so glorious. And why? Forsooth because thou would I should worship thee, as thou hast appointed by thy word; for if service is acceptable, it must be done according to the will of him to whom it is done, and not of him who does it; but inasmuch as none knows the will and pleasure of a man but his spirit, except he reveal the same by word or sign; much more, O Lord, none knows thy will, except thy Spirit, and they to whom thou dost reveal the same. And therefore all those things which are abominable in thy sight, are in most force and estimation with men, because they are not according to thy word; so that the meaning of this precept is, that as in the first I should have none other gods but thee, so I should have no worship of thee, but such as thou appoints. Hereby therefore I see great cause of thankfulness for this commandment, since thou would have mine outward service, and that after thy appointment; lest I should busy my brain how best to serve thee. Good Lord, thou needs not my service: thou was perfect before I was in existence, therefore it is for my own advantage, that thou commands me, yea, even for my own wealth. Thou might have let me stand all day idle; but such is thy love, that thou would I should go into thy vineyard, that with thy servants I might receive the hire of blessedness. And how great a benefit is it, to deliver me from so great a burden, wherewith I should have been cambered, if I should have served thee in any point after my wit and reason, But, alas! I, not considering what a promotion thy service is, nor what an easy service it is, and (for one may well know what to do, and when he pleases thee, namely, when he serves thee as thou host appointed) simple as I am, and always have been unthankful; so I am, and always have been, a grievous transgressor of this thy law. For as in times past, when I did not know this commandment, I was an image-worshipper of stocks, stones, &c., yea, of bread and wine; so now I am a worshipper of mine affections, offering to them the service due unto thee, though not thereby to worship thee, as I thought when I kneeled to stocks and stones, bread and wine, &c., yet with no less transgression of thy law: for which I have deserved, and do deserve, everlasting damnation. Of thy goodness and great mercy, dear Father, I beseech thee forgive me, for Christ's sake, whom thou did give to be the fulfilling of the law, to all them that should believe. O Father, I believe, help mine unbelief. As thou hast of thy goodness hitherto spared me, though transgressing this thy holy precept; so of thy goodness forgive me, as well mine idolatry done in time past, as that which of late time I have committed, and do commit. And as thou by this commandment hast delivered me from the one, that is, from bowing myself to stocks and stones, so, dear Father, deliver me from all other bowing myself after mine oven will, to mine own affections; that I may have none other God in my heart but thee, nor do service to any other, but only to thee, and for thee, after thy word, as thou commands. Oh! open mine eyes, to see thy will in this thy gracious precept. Give me a will to love it heartily, and a heart to obey it faithfully, for thy dear Son's sakes Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
By this commandment I perceive, O Lord, that as, in the first, thou would that in the outward service of thee I should utterly abandon mine own will and reason, and all the reasons or good entreaties of man, and wholly give myself to serve thee, after thy will and word; so here thou dost begin to tell me, how thou wilt have my tongue to be exercised in thy service. And therefore thou bids me not to take thy name in vain; as by rash or vain swearing, by cursing; praying without sense, as those do that pray in a tongue they know not; praying without faith or consideration of the thing desired; without hearty desire and certain expectation of obtaining that which is to thy glory and my salvation; also by jesting or foolish abusing; or negligent reading or hearing of thy holy word; (by which thou, as by thy name, art known;) and in like manner, by denying thy truth and word, or concealing it when occasion is offered to promote thy glory, and confirm thy truth. By reason whereof I may well see that thou would have me use my tongue, in humbly confessing thee and thy word and truth after my vocation; in praying heartily, and calling upon thy name; in reading and hearing thy word, and speaking thereof, with all reverence, diligence, and attention; in thanksgiving and praising thee, for thy great mercy; in instructing my brother, and admonishing him when he errs, after my calling and vocation, with all humbleness, gentleness, and love.
Thus would thou have me exercise my tongue, and not think that the exercising of it in this manner is vain and unprofitable; but what pleases thee, and profits myself and others.
And forasmuch as thou knows that our tongue is a slippery member, and we very negligent over it, and of the great advantage that might come to us and others by using it in thy service; thou hast added a fearful and most true communication, that though men find no faults or punish us therefore, yet wilt not thou hold him guiltless that takes thy name in vain, (Lev. xxiii.,) as by many examples we are taught, in thy holy word, and by daily experience, if we would consider the same.
And therefore I have great cause to give praise and thanks to thy most holy name, for many great benefits, which by this commandment I receive, and ought with thankfulness to consider. First, that it pleased thee, not only to give me a tongue, whereas thou might have made me speechless; but also that thou would have it sanctified to thy service. Again, chat thou would not only reveal thy name unto us, but also would give me leave to call upon it, and praise and publish it; yea, thou hast commanded me so to do, and not only commanded but hast promised that thou wilt hear my prayer; and that my praising of thee, and confessing thy word and truth, shall not be in vain.
Thirdly, thou would all men should use their tongue so that thereby I might be the better instructed, admonished, and occasioned to use myself well, and in the obedience of this thy holy precept. But why go I about to reckon the causes of thanks for this commandment, seeing that they are innumerable, if a man should but look upon thy word, by which, as by thy name, thou art most truly known. Which word thou commands unto us in this commandment, as thou dost preaching, private admonishing, thanksgiving, and prayer; than which, nothing is more profitable to us, in this vale of misery. But, gracious good Lord, I acknowledge myself not only to be a most unthankful wretch, for this thy holy precept, and the great mercy which herethrough I perceive thou hast most graciously poured upon me, and dost yet still offer unto me; but also that I am a miserable transgressor of this thy most holy, good, and blessed commandment, as I have always been in times past. Horribly have I abused thy name in swearing, cursing, and jesting wickedly. I have called upon other names than thither as the names of Peter, Paul, Mary, &c., yea, of some whose salvation is to be doubted of (he means the Romish saints, editor). I have foolishly prayed in such a tongue as I knew not what I prayed and said; with many other transgressions of this precept, wherein yet I am conversant; as in seldom praying, and when I pray I am not intent, nor very desirous of the thing I ask with my tongue. After prayer I do not earnestly look for the good things asked and prayed for; and therefore, when I obtain my request, I am most unthankful; thy word I read little, and most negligently, forgetting forthwith what I read; I admonish not others when I hear them abuse thy holy word; I am afraid, for fear of loss of friends, name, or life, to confess thy truth, gospel, and name, which was called upon me in baptism, and not in vain, if I did not thus make it in vain. But, alas! I can in no wise comprehend the multitude of my transgressions concerning this thy law. But this is a sin above other sins, that under thy name, word, and gospel, I play the hypocrite, having more care for mine own name, than for thine; for if my name were evil spoken of, it would grieve me, and I should defend it; but, alas! I hear thine daily evil spoken of, and see it profaned by false doctrine and evil living, but it grieves me not. I seek not, and do not endeavour to redress these things in myself and in others, according to my duty. And why? because, good Lord, I love myself better than thee, and not thee with my whole heart. Thy first commandment has no place with me, as it should have; it possesses not my heart, mind, and will, as thou requires, most to my own advantage; by reason whereof I am worthy of eternal condemnation. Oh! what shall I do, gracious God, who not only have been so grievous and filthy a swearer, curser, &c., so great a caller upon dead creatures (he means the Romish saints, editor), and so heinous a transgressor of this law; but also at this present time do so horribly and hypocritically offend thee, in taking thy name in vain, and that in so many ways, in praying and not praying; in reading and not reading; in speaking and not speaking; and not confessing simply, and from my heart, thy doctrine, truth, and name; but regarding mine own name far above it. Shall I fly from thee? then undoubtedly I am more guilty, and shall more disobey this thy holy precept, adding sin to sin; whereas, thou would I should call upon thy holy name, dear Lord, who hast given thy dear Son Jesus Christ to be a Mediator for us; that through him we might find, not only grace for the pardon of our sins past, but also for the obtaining of thy Holy Spirit; as well the better to understand, as also the better and more frankly to obey this thy holy precept for ever. For his sake, therefore, dear God, pardon my sins, past and presents whereof this law accuses me, and grant, most gracious Father, that I may be endued with thy Holy Spirit, to know and love thy holy name, word, and truth in Jesus Christ; that I may be zealous, wise, and constant; and that my tongue may be sanctified henceforth, and guided by thy Holy Spirit and grace, to publish, confess, and teach thy truth and gospel, after my vocation, to others, as occasion is offered; to call upon thy name in all my need, to give thanks unto thee, praise thee, magnify thee, and to sanctify thy holy name, as a vessel of thy mercy, for ever and ever.
Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day, &c.
After thou hast told me, how in the external service of thee, gracious Lord, thou wilt have my tongue used, so dost thou now teach me, how thou wilt have mine ears and all mine whole body occupied, namely, in sanctification and holiness; that is, in those things, which thou peculiarly hast appointed, to be means immediately to help to that end. As in hearing thy word preached, and using the ceremonies appointed by thee, even as thou hast commanded; for which things to be exercised of thy people, thou at the first did appoint a certain day namely, the seventh day, which therefore thou calls thy sabbath, that thereby they with their children resting from all exterior labour, which hinders the meditation of the mind, might not only be more able to go on with their travail and labour (for without some rest, nothing can endure, in respect whereof thou would that the very beasts which were exercised in labour should have the privilege of this sabbath,) but also and much rather, that thy people with their families and children might be taught, first, by the ministry of thy word in preaching and catechising: secondly, by the using of thy sacraments appointed after thy commandment and institution, that they might be assured of thy promises; thirdly, by praying that they might be augmented in all godliness: and, last of all, by their meeting together and exercising all these thy works of sanctification, that they might increase in love and charity one towards another, as members of one body, and fellow heirs of one inheritance; and thus by meeting together, praying, and using thy sacraments, they might be instructed in thy law and of that sabbath, whereunto thou thyself did enter, after thou had made the world, ceasing from thy works, not of preservation, but of creation. Into which as after this life, and the works of this time, they should enter; so now they begin spiritually to enter, in resting from their own works, which the old man moves them unto. Not that, good Lord, thou would these works, appointed for the sabbath day, should not be exercised at any other time, but only on the seventh day; but because thou did as well ordain them for a policy (an observance, or a method of governance, editor), to endure till the coming of Christ, as also according to the revelation of thee in that time, did open thyself, beginning them in figures and shadows, whose verities at thy time were to be opened. Therefore it pleased thee to appoint then the seventh day, which seventh day, although by reason of the policy being by thee destroyed, and by reason of Christ, the verity and body of all shadows, it is abrogated from us; yet this commandment stands in force; as well for the works of sanctification, that is, for preaching thy word, coming to hear it, for praying, using thy sacraments, and coming together to that end; as also for those days which by common order, and on good ground are ordained and received;: howbeit with this liberty, that necessity of our faith, and sanctification and charity, may dispense therewith, occasion of wilful and witty offence being avoided, &c. So, that hereby I perceive thy will and pleasure to be, that I should at all times, as much as charity and necessity will permit, give over myself, and cause all others over whom I have charge, so to do, especially on the Sundays, and other holy days received, and to that end appointed, to the resorting to the temple and places appointed to prayer; to hear with meekness thy holy word, and use thy sacraments and ceremonies as thou hast commanded; and to exercise all things which might be to the confirmation and propagating of thy holy religion, or make to the increase of love and charity; as giving to the poor, reconciling such as are at variance, visiting the sick, and even (as it were) beginning that sabbath whereof Isaiah speaks. (Isa. lvi.)
By reason whereof I have great cause to thank thee, most gracious Father, that thou would appoint me to be in this time, wherein thou hast more fully revealed thyself than thou did, not only before Christ's coming, but also since Christ's ascension. Never since England was England, did thou so manifestly reveal thy truth, as thou hast done in these days. Great cause I have to thank thee, that thou would institute the ministry of thy word and sacraments, as means whereby thy Holy Spirit is effectual to work sanctification in our hearts. Great cause have I to thank thee, that thou would preserve the books of the prophets and apostles until this time. Great cause have I to praise thee, that thou would give me such knowledge in them as thou hast done, of thy great mercy; great cause have to thank thee for the good and true ministers and preachers of thy word, which thou hast sent amongst us, and that thou hast given me grace to hear them.
Great cause have I to thank thee, that in this religion thou hast given such long quietness and harbourage (shelter, editor) to thy church; great cause have I to thank thee, for that thou would make me such a man, in whom thy Holy Spirit might work. Great cause I have to thank thee, who would call me into thine eternal sabbath and rest, full of all joy, such as the eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard. Great cause have I to thank thee, that so many days are appointed for this end, that we should meet together to hear thy word and receive thy sacraments; great cause have I to thank thee for the institution of thy sacraments, which thou hast ordained as thy visible and palpable words, to the obsignation (sealing, editor) and confirmation of the faith of all such as use the same after thy commandments. But infinite are the causes for which I ought to give thee thanks for this commandment.
But, alas! I am not only unthankful, but also a most miserable transgressor of it. I will not now speak of my past transgressions concerning this commandment; they are so many that I cannot. For thou knows how I do not only at convenient times, on the work day, keep myself away from common prayers in the congregation and assembly of thy people, and from hearing of thy word, but also on the sabbath-days. I am very ready to ride or go, about this or that worldly business; I am ready at the first bidding to sit down at the tavern, and to go to that man's table; but, alas! to resort to the table of thy Son, and receive with thankfulness the sacrament of his body and blood, for confirmation of my faith; that is, to learn spiritually to taste Christ's body broken, and his blood died, for the remission of my sins: to do this, oh! how unwilling am I! To go to mass and sacrings, with such like idolatry, I have often been far more ready than I am now to hear thy word, and use thy sacraments as I should do: thy ministers I pray not for; thy church I am not careful for; no, not now, good Lord, when wicked doctrine prevails, and idolatry, superstition, and abominations abound; when the sacrament and sacrifice of thy dear Son Jesus Christ are blasphemously corrupted: when for preaching there is nothing but massing; for catechising, censing; for reading of the Scriptures, bell-ringing; for singing of psalms and godly songs to our edification, all is done in Latin, with such notes, times, ditties, and descants, that the mind is utterly pulled from the consideration of the thing (if men did understand it) unto the melody. All which my wickedness has brought in, my profaning of this commandment, and my not praying. Thy ministers are in prison, dispersed in other countries, spoiled, burnt, and murdered. Many fall for fear of goods, life, name, &c. from the truth they have received, unto most manifest idolatry. False preachers abound among thy people; thy people, dearly bought, even with thy blood, are not fed with the bread of thy word, but with swillings; antichrist wholly prevails; and yet for all this, alas! I am too careless, nothing lamenting my sins, which are the cause of all this. O dear Father, forgive me, for Christ's sake, and be merciful unto me; and as of thy mercy thou gave me time to repent, so give me repentance. Grant me the Holy Spirit, to open to me this thy law; so that I may know thy will in it, love it, and always obey it. May thy good Spirit sanctify me, and work in me a true taste of eternal life and pleasure in the meditation of it. Give me, gracious, good Father one little mouthful of the bread that thou did feed Elijah with, (1 Kings xix.:) give it to me that with him I may come unto Mount Horeb. Help thy church, cherish it, and give it harbourage here and elsewhere, for Christ's sake. Purge thy ministry from corruption and false ministers; send out preachers to feed thy people; destroy antichrist and all his kingdom; give repentance to such as are fallen from thy truth; keep others from falling, and by their falling do thou the more confirm us; confirm the ministers and poor people in prison and exile; strengthen them in thy truth; deliver them, if it be thy good will; give them that with conscience they may so answer their adversaries, that thy servants may rejoice and the adversaries be confounded; avenge thou thy own cause, O thou God of hosts, and help all thy people, and me especially, because I have most need.
Honour thy father and mother, that thou mayest live long, &c.
After thou hast told me, good Lord, thy will concerning thy service which thou requires inwardly and outwardly to be driven unto thee, now thou dost begin to tell me what thy will is that I should do and leave undone, for thy sake, unto man. And first thou sets before mine eyes those who for order's sake and the better advantage of man in this life, thou hast set in degree and authority above me; comprehending them under the names of father and mother, that I might know that as they are commanded by thee, to bear towards me a faithful love and a motherly care, in the very names of father and mother, wherewith thou honours them; so I am commanded of thee to do that which is most equal and just, as the very brute beasts teach usóthat with childlike affection and duty I should behave myself towards them. That is, I should honour them; which comprehends love, thankfulness, reverence, and obedience; and that not so much because they are my parents, and in their offices are careful for me, for it may be they will neglect the doing of their duty towards me, but because thou commands me so to do, howsoever they do to me. So that by this commandments I perceive that thou would I should consider them whom thou hast placed in authority and superior degree; as parents, magistrates, masters, or such-like; and accordingly behave myself toward themóhonour them, that is to say, love them, be thankful unto them, reverence them, and obey them, for thy sake, so long as they pass not their bounds; that is, so long as they require not otherwise than thou hast given them commission or permission to do.
And forasmuch as thou sees their care and office is great, and my corruption (unwillingness, editor) to obey is very much; so to encourage them to he diligent in their vocation, and to inflame me to humble obedience unto them, therethrough to make them more willing to sustain cares for me, thou adds a promise, that is, long life; which, so far as it is a blessing from thee, thou wilt endue us withal. Whereby we may gather, that a civil (obedient in civil concerns, editor) life much pleases thee, and receives rewards here, especially if we lead it for conscience to thy law. And on the contrary, a disobedient life to them that are in authority, will bring the sooner thy wrath and vengeance in this life. All which works much to the commendation of the state of political and civil magistrates. By reason hereof, dear Father, I see myself much bound to praise thee, and heartily to obey this thy commandment; for in it and by it thou declares thy great love toward us, who even in this present life, our pilgrimage and passage to our home, would have us to enjoy the benefit of peace, and most seemly quietness and order, and by this order so unite us, that none should contemn or despise another, but even high and low should be and account themselves as parents and children; particularly, for my part, I cannot but say that I have most cause, to thank thee for my parents, schoolmasters, and others, under whose tuition thou hast put me. No pen is able to write the particular benefits which I have hereby received in my infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, and always hitherto. Oh! how good a Lord hast thou declared thyself to me, who in them and by them hast nourished, fed, instructed, corrected, defended, and most graciously kept me! I could reckon innumerable behind me, and but few before meóso much made of and cared for as I have been hitherto. No small token of thy love towards me is it, that thou would engrave in their hearts, and command them, under pain of condemnation, to be careful over me, to do me good, and provide for me, as they have done, or rather as thou hast done by them publicly. Also for the commonwealth, and such as thou hast placed in authority over me in both thy regiments (he means spiritual and temporal governors, editor), if I considered them that have been, and them that are, I could not but praise thee, good Lord; for no less praiseworthy art thou for thus chastening us, and admonishing us now at present by them that are in authority, for our ingratitude and unthankfulness; than by such as have been, for all kinds of good things. But infinite are the causes of thankfulness, which this commandment, being considered, should stir up in me; but, alas! most merciful Father, as I acknowledge myself most unthankful unto thee for all thy benefits poured upon me in this life by my parents, nurses, tutors, masters, magistrates, bishops, pastors, and good friends, even from my cradle unto this hour, so unto them have I always been and am unthankful in not loving them; as my coldness in praying for them, and my carelessness in helping them, declares. And also my not reverencing them, my contemning them, and my temerariousness (rashness, editor) in mistrusting, or too narrowly and too straitly looking at them and their duties shows; and in not obeying them, as by my contumacy appears, not only when any thing to me unpleasant or unprofitable, but also profitable and convenient, is required; and yet I speak not of evil and muttering reports, or the offences in transgressing the laws about apparel and meats, and other no small offences, which I have committed and given. Oh! this is a sin, dear Father, that I always have been a private more than a common weal man, always seeking for mine own advantage, and contemning that which made to the commodity of others. As for my disobedience and wicked behaviour towards my own parents, and all others whom thou hast set over me, dear Father, no tongue can express it, and therefore I am worthy of condemnation. But, gracious, good Lord and dear Father, I beseech thee, for thy Christ's sake, to have mercy upon me, and pardon me, as of thy goodness it pleased thee to pardon the patriarchs. Thou hast given this commandment as thy holy law, to open to us how corrupt we are, and how much we swerve from the pattern whereafter we were first made, and once agreed thereto before Adam's fall, that we might loathe ourselves, and even thereby be driven to seek and set by thy sweet mercies in Christ Jesus, whom therefore thou did send to fulfil the law in his flesh, that we might borrow of him the same, by true faith, which of thy goodness work in us by thy Holy Spirit; and open this law unto us, that we may more and more increase in the knowledge, love, and obedience of it to thy glory and our salvation. Amen. Dear Father, be merciful to our magistrates especially the Queen's highness, whose heart, with the residue of her counsellors, turn to thy testimonies; give them thy wisdom, and a zeal for the truth according to knowledge, that they may use the power they have received of thee to the cherishing of thy church, that with us here thy word may have free passage, and thy true worship may he maintained; and not only here, but also every where among those whom thou would we should pray for. Be merciful to my poor parents, gracious Lord, with my brethren, sisters, wife, children, family, servants, kinsfolks, neighbours, as thou knows they all have need. Give unto the hearts of all parents, magistrates, and such as are in authority here or elsewhere, that they may, according to that which thou hast entrusted them with, be faithful, diligent, careful, and happy. Grant unto children, servants, and subjects, that every one may render love, obedience, thankfulness, and reverence to all such as thou hast put in authority over them. Bless the church, and send it peace and harbourage (shelter, editor), here or elsewhere; bless the common weal, and send us peace; bless the dioceses and shires, and send them good bishops and justices; bless every household and family, that thy peace may be in the same continually. Finally, write thy law, and all thy laws, in our hearts, we beseech thee, that we may keep them. Amen.
Thou shalt do no Murder.
As in the commandment next before, thou, O Lord, sets before me the persons of all such as thou for the advantage, order, and peace of man in this life, hast placed in authority, and accordingly by us to be esteemed for thy sake, so dost thou in this commandment set before us to look on the persons of all men generally, high and low, over whom thou gives us a charge, that we shall not kill or murder them. In which word thou comprehends all kinds of hatred or malice, in word, thought, or deed, as thy dearly beloved Son, expounding this commandment, did teach. (Matt. v.) Yea, because thou would all men should be dear unto us, being all of one substance, of one similitude, coming of the same parents, Adam and Eve, made of one God, redeemed of one Christ, in whom we should be joined together as members of one body, and live to the aid, succour, and comfort one of another; óbecause of this (I say) we may easily see that not only thou here forbids us to beware of all kinds of displeasure, but also thou commands us to bear and exercise all kinds of love and favour in heart, word, and deed, and that for thy commandment's sake; for else our hearts would arise towards our enemies, and be great, in that they, contemning their duties towards us, seem to deserve the like at our hands.
By reason hereof I have great cause to thank thee, dear Father; for hereby I see that thou dost much love my soul, who art so careful over my body, that he which hurts it displeases thee, and he that does it good pleases thee, if he does it for thy sake. By this commandment now I see that it is thou who hast kept me from doing many evils, which else I should have outrageously done, and hast stirred me up to do good to my brethren, if at any time I have done any, even as thou hast also kept and dost keep at present, others from doing me hurt, and best and dost stir up those that do me good, to do so unto me. Oh! how great is the multitude of thy benefits, good Lord, wherewith thou hast overwhelmed me, and which, through this commandment, I perceive myself to have received, at present do receive, and so long as I live am likely to receive; for thou commands all men everywhere to do me good, to love me, defend me, and cherish me; such is thy love to me in this present life, and that for my body. Oh! how great is thy love then to me in everlasting life, and that for my soul! If in a strange country so great is thy protection; how great is it at home! But, alas! dear Lord how unthankful have I been, and am still, for these thy fatherly benefits! Oh! mine ingratitude! Yea, Lord, horribly have I transgressed, and still do transgress, this thy gracious precept, in pride, envy, disdain, malice, hardness of heart, unmercifulness, and contemning thy children, saints, and servants. Self-love altogether reigns in me, and the desire of praise, rule, and fame. I am so far from love and mercy in heart, good Lord, that no man can hear it in my tongue, nor see it in my works; but rather quite the contrary, and that generally, and towards them to whom I am bound most particularly. By reason whereof I have deserved everlasting condemnation, and to be cast away from thy presence for ever. O most gracious Father, forgive me, for Christ's sake, I beseech thee; for to this end thou did give this commandment, that I, seeing my corruption and depraved nature by sin, might come to thy mercy deserved by Christ, and through faith in him might find not only pardon of that which is past, but also thy grace and Holy Spirit, to begin in me the obedience to this and all thy other holy precepts for evermore. So be it. For this thy Christ's sake, dear Father, I beseech thee therefore to take from me, and all others for whom thou would that we should pray, all envy, prides arrogance, disdain, hatred, and all suspiciousness; and grant unto us bowels of mercy, humility, patience, meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, peace, charity, and all kinds of brotherly love. Comfort the feeble, relieve the poor, help the fatherless, heal the sick, bless the afflicted; show thy great mercy upon all poor prisoners, and deliver them in thy good time; remember thy pity towards strangers, captives, widows, and such as are oppressed.
Thou shalt not commit Adultery.
Here, good Lord, thou commands unto me pureness and chastity and therefore thou says I should not commit adultery; in the which word thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ comprehends all uncleanness, yea, the very concupiscence and abusing of the heart in lusting after any man's wife, or otherwise unchastely. By which thou would have us to love in ourselves and others purity and cleanness, that we might he holy as thou our God art holy, and our bodies being temples of thy Holy Spirit might be kept pure; and accordingly we may easily see that as thou forbids all unclean deeds, words, looks, and thoughts, so dost thou command us to love and exercise all purity, chastity, cleanness, sobriety, temperance, &c.
By reason whereof I have great cause to be thankful unto thee, who not only for the help and advantage of man, but also for remedy of man's infirmity, hast made womankind, and ordained the state of matrimony, which in thy sight is so holy and pure, that thou accounts this state of matrimony to be an undefiled thing. And such care thou hast over the persons who are married and their condition, that those sin unto damnation, who not only go about to defile that bed, but wish or desire it within their hearts, yea, which do not endeavour themselves with thought, word, and deed, to help that purity and cleanness may be kept between married folks. But the great causes thou gives us to thank thee for this state and ordinance, and for thy defending us (forbidding us from evil, editor) by this commandment, are innumerable.
Full well I see, that it is thou who by this commandment not only restrains me, but also keeps my wife from impurity, which else we might both commit. Great is thy love O good Lord, and more than I am able to consider, who declares thyself to be thus careful over me, concerning the benefits which come unto me, both for the mind, body, and goods, by sobriety and temperance, which thou here requires: only this I cannot but see, that I have great cause to thank thee, who art so careful over me, as by this commandment I well see.
But, alas! good Lord, what shall I say, who am and have been so far from thankfulness, that I am to be accounted among the most unthankful; yea, thou knows it, good Lord. Grievously have I broken this law, and caused others so to do, of whose repentance I am uncertain; as also my tongue, alas! has often been shamefully exercised, mine eyes and thoughts too wickedly abused.
All this I have increased by mine intemperance in eating, drinking, cherishing my body, &c. I have also hurt my bodily health, diminished that which I and others should live on, and horribly hindered all good prayers and meditations; wherein, though I have time and place, yet, alas! I nothing exercise myself as I should do. By reason whereof I have deserved everlasting damnation.
O good Lord and gracious Father, do thou for thy name's sake, and in Christ's blood, pardon me and forgive me, I beseech thee; and as thou hast most mercifully hitherto spared me, so of thy mercy put away my trespasses, and the transgressions of those whom I have caused to sin; let that love which moved thee to pardon Judah, David, Bathsheba, and the great sinner of whom we read in Luke vii. move thee to pardon and forgive me also. Thou gave this commandment to this end, that I might know my sin and sinful nature, and so thereby be driven to thy Christ crucified, for whose sake I ask mercy; and also that thy good Spirit may be given unto me, to purify me, and work so in me and with me, that I may truly know, heartily love, and faithfully obey this thy holy precept, inwardly and outwardly, now and for ever. Amen. Gracious good Lord, grant to me and my wife, that we may dwell together according to knowledge, and may keep ourselves in holiness; grant, O Lord, that we may be pure and undefiled, and grant the same to all that are married; and to them which are unmarried, grant that they may live a pure, chaste, and undefiled life; and if they have not the gift of singleness of life, grant unto them mates with whom they may live holily to thy praise. Dear Father, give me the gift of sobriety and temperance, and grant the same to all them whom thou would I should pray for. As in times past I have fired my tongue and other members evil, so now, good Lord, grant that I may use them well, chastely and godlily. This I pray thee to grant, through Jesus Christ; and finally, O Lord, sanctify me both in soul and body, and as in thy temple dwell in me now and for evermore. Amen.
Thou shalt not Steal.
Now that thou hast taught me the service required of thee for me to observe towards the persons of all men and women, of every condition, thou begins to tell me what thou would I should do concerning their goods; and as in the commandment next before this thou did command unto me sobriety and pureness; so dost thou in this, command justice and righteousness; forbidding me to steal; under which word thou comprehends all kinds of deceit; which thou dost, because thou would that I should give over myself wholly to the study and exercise of justice; as in the precept going before, thou would I should give over myself wholly to the keeping of sobriety and pureness; so that I see thy good pleasure herein is not only that I should abstain from all theft, but also from all fraud and craft in word or deed, yea, tot I should earnestly follow and exercise all equity, truth, and justice.
By reason whereof, I see myself much bound to praise thee, who art so careful over my goods and substance, that if any man should go about to steal from me, or to defraud me in any thing, yea, whosoever goes not about to keep and care for that which I have, as he would do for his own, the same displeases thee.
O Lord, if thou hast such care for my goods, cattle, and such pelf, how great is thy care for my soul! If this commandment had not been given, I perceive, I for my own part should have done and should do much worse than I have done; and much worse would have been done to me and mine than has been done. It is thou, good Lord, I perceive, who hast both given all that I have, and also still preserves and keeps the same, and not my own polity, wisdom, and industry; for in vain were all this, except thou did vouchsafe to use and take it as a mean to work by. There is nothing therefore that I have, but whenever I look upon it, by this commandment, I learn thy goodness, strength, and power; for as thou gives it of thy mercy, so it speaks to me that at present thou still dost keep it for me, so that exceeding great cause have I to thank thee for this precept, dear God and most gracious Lord.
But, alas! I am for from thankfulness, and always have been so, for all thy care for me, and for all that ever thou hast given unto me, so that I have used subtlety and craft, yea, sometimes theft and bribery; and now, good Lord, I still exercise the same, when occasion is offered. I live also voluptuously upon that which thou hast given and lent me, and nothing consider, what equity requires; and what or how great the necessity of the poor is, whom I thus defraud by excess and prodigality. That which I borrow, I with unwillingness repay; I use it more negligently than I would do my own. Lack of justice, the great usury, robbery, oppression, and such like wickedness which are exercised among us, I lament not, I labour not after my vocation for the redress of the same, I pray not to thee thereabout, but neglect it altogether.
Yea, even those things wherewith I am entrusted, or am hired to do, those (I say) I do with great negligence; so that my sin is great herein, and I am worthy of condemnation. But, merciful God, I beseech thee, for Christ's sake, to have mercy upon me, and to pardon me my unthankfulness, thefts, frauds, deceits, avarice, negligences, and great carelessness, for the lack of justice, and for the monstrous oppression, usury, excess, and riot, which are horribly exercised in the common weal. For thy mercy's sake in Christ Jesus, O Lord, whom thou has given to fulfil the law for them that do believe, give me true faith and thy Holy Spirit, to work in me the knowledge, love, and perpetual obedience of this thy holy precept, and all thy other commandments for ever.
Dear Lord, give unto me, and to all whom thou would I should pray for, the hatred of all craft, and love of all justice; grant to the oppressed thy comfort, to wrongers repentance; to thieves and deceivers, that they may make restitution; to justices of peace, landlords, and the rich of the world, that they may have thee before their eyes, love their poor tenants and brethren, and give to labourers and artificers, that they may be diligent in their work and labours, and that wherewith they are put in trust.
Thou shalt not bear False Witness against thy Neighbour.
Now dost thou, most gracious Lord, instruct me in this commandment, how I should use my tongue towards my neighbour, and behave myself concerning his name, forbidding me to bear false witness; in which thou forbids me all kinds of slandering, lying, hypocrisy, and untruth. And why? because, as members of one body, thou would we should speak truth one to another; and be careful, every one, to cover the other's infirmity, and with our tongue to defend the names of others, even as we would that others should defend ours; so that in this commandment, as thou forbids me all kinds of evil, calumnious and untrue speaking; thou dost command to me all kind of godly, honest, and true report and talk.
By reason whereof I have great cause to praise thee, since I see thee to be so careful over my name, that all men are commanded by thee to defend the same. O precious God, great is thy care over my soul, I now perceive. If this commandment were not, I see, I should have done and should do much worse with my tongue to others than has happened, and so should I have felt of others towards me.
Besides this, no small advantage is it to me, that thou would all men should use truth in all their words to me.
Oh! how great and how good a thing is this unto me: If we consider the hurt that comes by untruth and by deceitful words, easily may we see a wonderful benefit and care of thee for us in this commandment.
But, gracious Lord, I acknowledge my unthankfulness to be monstrous and great, and that it always has been so; and yet I continue in wonderful hypocrisy in all my conversation; often lying and speaking vainly, offensively, fleshly, subtlety, calumniously, and giving my ears to hear things slanderously spoken; not repining or admonishing others (as the slanderer) to do as he would be done by, to tell his tale where he should tell it, nor admonishing the party slandered of that which is reported of him, thereby to take better heed; but rather I augment it. By reason whereof I have deserved eternal condemnation.
But thou, good Lord, be merciful unto me, I beseech thee, for Christ's sake, whom thou hast ordained to be the end of the law to all them that do believe, as well for pardon of that which is past, as for not imputing the imperfection that remains. In his name therefore, good Lord, I beseech thee to pardon me, and give me thy Holy Spirit to open to me this law, and all thy other precepts; and so to understand them that I may heartily love them, and faithfully give myself to the obedience of them for ever. Grant me thy good Spirit to sanctify my tongue, that it may be kept from lying, slandering, and all such vices; and that it may be continually used in thy service, and speaking that which may be to edify, to thy glory and praise, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thou shalt not covet thy Neighbour's House, thou shalt not covet thy Neighbour's Wife, nor his Servant, nor his Maid, nor his Ox, nor his Ass, nor anything that is his.
Here, O most gracious Lord and God, thou gives me the last commandment of thy law, who having taught what outward actions I shall avoid, that I do not thereby offend or undo my neighbour, as murder, adultery, theft, or false witness: now thou teaches a rule for my heart, to order that well, from the abundance whereof all works and words proceed, that I covet not any thing that is my neighbour's.
I know hereby, that if he have a fairer house, I may not wish for it: if he have a more beautiful wife, I may not desire her: if he have an honest and faithful servant, such a one as helps to get his living. I must not think to myself, I would I had him from his master. I may not desire to take his ox, nor his ass, no not his dog, no not the meanest thing he has in his possession. So that in the other commandments; as thou has forbidden all injuries and evil practice against my neighbour, now thou charges me to beware of thinking any evil thought against him.
By reason whereof I have great cause to praise thee, in that I see thee to he so careful over mine estate, my house, my wife, my servants, and the beasts that drudge for my service: that all men are by thee commanded not once to wish them from me. Thy apostle said well, when he taught us, saying, "Cast all your care upon God, for he cares for you." It is true, I find it true, thus thou cares for us, and would have us so to care one for another.
But gracious Lord, I must needs confess, that I have forgotten and broken this commandment, and do so still every day. I am wishing and woulding (desiring, editor) every minute. I have gone about to take my neighbour's house over his head. Many times have I had unchaste thoughts in my heart. I have gone about to inveigle and entice his servants from him: I could have been content to have wrought his beast and spared my own: I always thought he had too much, and I have too little; the dregs of these things, O Lord, are not quite out of my heart. Wherefore I deserve to have thy law executed upon me with all severity.
But thou, good Lord, be merciful unto me in this point also, for Jesus Christ's sake: for otherwise, I am of all men most miserable. Good Lord, pardon me, consider the frailty of my flesh, the corruption of my nature, the multitude of temptations, how of myself, I am able to do nothing; how if left to myself, I shall come to nothing.
Set my heart straight in the case of religion, to acknowledge thee one God, to worship none other God, to reverence thy name, and to keep thy sabbaths. Set my heart right in matters of human conversation, to honour my parents, to obey rulers, and reverence the ministry of the gospel; to have hands clean from blood, true from theft, a body free from adultery, and a tongue void of all offence. But purge the heart first, O Lord, and then the hand, the eye, the tongue, the foot, and the whole body will be cleaner. Write all these thy laws in my heart, O Lord, and in the hearts of all the faithful people, that we may believe them and keep them all the days of our lives to thy glory and praise, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.
A Meditation concerning Prayer, with a brief paraphrase upon the Petitions of the Lord's Prayer
The mind of man has such large room to receive good things, that nothing can fully fill it but God alone; whom thy mind fully possesses, when it fully knows him, fully loves him, and in all things is framed after his will. They therefore, dear Lord God, that are thy children, and have tasted somewhat of thy goodness, do perpetually sigh, that is, do pray, until they come thereto; and since they love thee above all things, it wonderfully wounds them that other men do not so, that is, love thee, and seek for thee, with them. Whereof it comes to pass, that they are inflamed with continual prayers and desires, that thy kingdom might come everywhere, and thy goodness might be both known, and in life set forth by every man.
And because there are innumerable things, which as well in themselves as in others are against thy glory, they are kindled with continual prayer and desire, sighing unspeakably in thy sight for the increase of thy Spirit. And sometimes, when they see thy glory more put back than it was wont to be, either in themselves or in any others, then are they much more disquieted and vexed. But because they know that thou dost rule all things after thy good will, and that none other can help them in their need, they oftentimes go aside, all business laid apart, and give themselves to godly cogitations and talk with thee, complaining to thee as to their Father, of those things that grieve them, begging thereto, and that most earnestly, thy help, not only for themselves, but also for others, especially those whom especially they embrace in thee. And they often repeat and remember thy gracious benefits to others and to themselves also; wherethrough they are provoked to render to thee hearty thanks, thereby being inflamed, assuredly to hope well of thy good will towards them, and patiently to bear all evils; also to study and labour to mortify the affections of the flesh, and to order their whole life to the service of their brethren, and the setting forth of thy glory.
This they know is that prayer which thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord commanded to be made to thee in the chamber, the door being shut. (Matt. vi.) In this kind of prayer he himself watched often, even all the whole night. Herein was Paul frequent, as all thy saints are. This kind of prayer is the true lifting up of the mind unto thee; this stands in the affections, in the heart, not in words and in the mouth. As thy children are endued with thy Spirit, so they frequently thus talk with theeóthe more thy Spirit is in them, the more are they in talk with thee. Oh! give me plentifully thy Spirit, which thou hast promised to pour out upon all flesh, that thus I with thy saints may talk with thee night and day, for thy only beloved Son's sake, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Moreover, thy saints, to provoke themselves to this kind of prayer, use first their necessity, which they consider in three sorts; inwardly, concerning their souls; outwardly, concerning their bodies; and finally, concerning their names and fame: whereto they add the necessities of those committed to them, of thy church, and the common weal.
Secondly, they use thy commandments, which require them under pain of sin, to pray to thee in all their need.
Thirdly, they use the consideration of thy goodness, who art naturally merciful to young ravens calling upon thee, much more then to them for whom ravens and all things else were made, for whom thou hast not spared thy dear Son, but given him up for us all. (Rom. viii.)
Fourthly, they use thy most sweet and free promises, made to hear and help all them that call upon thee in Christ's name.
Fifthly, they use examples, how that thou, who art the God of all, and rich unto all them that call upon thee in Christ's name, hast heard and helped others calling upon thee.
Sixthly, they use the benefits given them before they asked; thereby not only provoking them to ask more, but also certifying their faith, that if thou was so good to grant them many things unasked, now thou wilt not deny them any thing they ask to thy glory and their weal.
Last of all, they use the reading and meditation upon psalms and other good prayers, because they know thereby peculiarly, besides the other Scriptures, there is no small help, as may appear by Paul, (Eph. v., Col. iii.) where he wills the congregation to use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, but so that in the heart we should sing and say them;ónot that thy children do not use their tongues and words in praying to thee, for they do use their tongues, speech and words, to stir up their inward desire and fervency of the mind; full well knowing that else it were plain mocking of thee, to pray with lips and tongue only. Oh! that now I might feel thy Spirit so affect me, that with heart and mouth I might heartily and in faith pray unto thee.
Now concerning the things that are to be prayed for, thy children know that the prayer taught by thy Son, most lively and plainly contains the same; and therefore they often use it. First, asking of thee, their heavenly Father, through Christ, that thy name might everywhere be had in holiness and praise; then, secondly, that thy kingdom, by regeneration and the ministry of the gospel, might come. And, thirdly, that willingly, perfectly, and perpetually, they might study to do, yea, to do indeed thy will, with thy holy and heavenly angels and spirits. These things they seek and pray for, namely, thy kingdom and thy righteousness, before any worldly benefit. After which petitions, because all things, yea, even the benefits of this present life, come from thee, they godly desire the same under the name of daily bread; being instructed of thy wisdom, that after spiritual benefits to ask for corporeal, is not unseemly to thy children, who know that both spiritual and corporeal come from thy mercy. In the other petitions they pray for things to be taken from them, beginning with forgiveness of sins, which, if their hearts were not so broken, that they could forgive all things to all men for their own part, were impudently prayed for. They add their profession, that is, charity, whereby they profess they have forgiven all offences done to them; howbeit, because it is not enough to have pardon of the past, except they are preserved from new offences, they pray thee not to lead them into temptation, by permitting them to follow perverse suggestions of Satan; but rather to deliver them from his importunity and power. By evil, they understand that Satan the author of all evil is meant. Oh! dear God, that thou would endue one with thy Spirit of grace and prayer, with thy children, so to make this prayer always when I pray.
As for outward evils, so long as they do not, as it were enforce thy people to sin, Christian profession accounts them among thy benefits, and thy Son has not taught thy church to pray for the taking away of them in this prayer; for here he has contained only those things for which all Christians, generally and particularly, may of faith pray at all times. It often comes to pass; that exterior evils, because they are not evils indeed, that is, because they are not against God's grace in us, therefore they cannot of faith he prayed against to be taken away; for thy children that have faith always prefer thy judgment before their own; which judgment when they know, by that which happens to them, they submit themselves thereto whollyóalthough thy Spirit make his unspeakable groanings to help their infirmities by prayer, not to have them taken away, but that they might have strength and patience to bear the burden accordingly. Which burden, if it be too heavy in the better sense and feeling thereof, they in their prayers complain somewhat of, rather than pray to have it taken away. As our Saviour did in the garden, when he added to his complaint, "Not my will, but thy will be done;" so do thy people in all their complaints add, "Not as we will, but as thou wilt;" for they are taught by thy Spirit not to pray for the taking away of corporeal evils, either from themselves or from others, unless they by the same Spirit can certainly perceive that the same makes to thy glory; as did thy apostles and servants, when absolutely and without condition they asked health or miracle for any, when they healed or raised the dead by prayer, for they know nothing can be better, thaw when it is according to thy will. Oh! that I might always know thy will in all things, and for ever apply myself thereto. Hereof it comes that thy saints and dear children, who love their neighbours as themselves, do yet in their prayers ask vengeance on some, as in the Psalms, because, in praying and talking with thee, they see by thy Holy Spirit (without it there is no true prayer) sometimes thy judgments upon some, whom they perceive to sin to death, who therefore ought not to be prayed for; but rather prayed against, because thy glory cannot be set forth as it should be without their destruction. Thy will is always best, and the thing whereto they frame all their desires. Therefore when they perceive it decreed with thee, that such and such by their destruction set forth more mightily thy glory, how should they but desire and pray for the same, and write it as David has done, that the godly in reading and weighing such prayers might receive comfort, and the ungodly be afraid? Else when they perceive not manifestly the determined judgments of God, they in their prayers do most heartily pray for them, as Samuel did for Saul, Moses for the Israelites, Abraham for Sodom. Good Father, for thy mercy's sake, give me true love of mankind; but so that I may love man for thee and in thee, and always prefer thy glory above all things, through Christ our Lord.
Now though thy children know, that thy will cannot but be done, and that nothing can be done but what thou of thine own will hast determined to do, although no man should desire the same, yet are they earnest and frequent in prayer; first, to render obedience to thee, who requires prayer as spiritual service to thee; secondly, because thou hast ordained prayer to be as an instrument and mean, by which thou works things with thee already decreed and determined. Thy children use prayer to offer to thee their service, if it please thee to use the same. As they eat and drink, which is a mean ordained, for the preservation of life, not looking thereby to lengthen days above the bounds which already thou hast appointed; but as it becomes them to use means which thou hast ordained to serve thy providence, so they (herein as men not curious to know thy providence further than thou reveals it) use prayer as a mean by which thou art accustomed to work many of thy children's desires, that according to thy good will thou may use the same. They do not think there is mutability in thee, for thou art God, and art not changedówith thee there is no variableness, and therefore they pray, not as men who would have thy determinations and ordinances altered, which are ordained in the fullest wisdom and mercy, but rather that they might submit their wills to thine, and make them more able to bear thy will and pleasure. They know that thou hast promised to help them who call upon thee; wherefore they doubt not, but that thou wilt do so, and pray accordingly. They love thee heartily, and therefore they cannot but desire much to talk with thee, that is to pray even as a well mannered and loving wife will not ask anything of her husband at all, but what she hopes he would take in good part, and do of his own free will, although she had not spoken thereof. When she knows what her husband's will is, she gladly talks with him, and accordingly as she sees he is purposed to do, she will often desire him to do. Even so thy children, who heartily love thee, since they know thy wisdom and will is best; how can they but often talk with thee, and desire thee to do that which they know is best, which they know also thou would do, though none should ask or pray for the same? Thy children use prayer as a means, by which they see plainly thy power, thy presence, thy Providence, mercy, and goodness towards them, in granting their petitions, and by prayer they are confirmed of them all. Yea, thy children use prayer to admonish them that all things are in thy hands. In prayer they are, as it were, of thee put in mind of those things which they have done against thee their good Lord. By reason whereof repentance ensues, and they conceive purpose to live more purely ever afterwards, and more heartily to apply to all innocence and goodness. Who now, considering that so many great advantages come by reason of prayer, would marvel why thy children are much in prayer, and labour to provoke others thereto?
For as no one that is a suitor to any other, will use any thing which might offend or hinder his suit, so no man that uses prayer will flatter himself in any thing that should displease thee, to whom by prayer he makes suit whenever he prays; so that nothing is greater provocation to all kinds of godliness than prayer. Therefore not without cause we see thine apostles and servants laboured so diligently, and desired that others might use prayer for themselves and others. Concerning outward things, which thy children pray for, although they know thy will and decree is not variable, and thy purpose must needs come to pass yet they receive by their prayer no small advantage. For either they obtain their requests, or not; if they obtain them, then they prove by experience that thou does the will of them that fear thee, and they are more kindled to love and serve thee. For this purpose thou art wont, when thou wilt do good to any, to stir up their minds to desire the same good of thee, that thou and thy gifts may be more magnified, and set by of them, by how much they have been earnest petitioners for the same: for how can it but inflame them with love towards thee, to perceive and feel thee so to care for them, hear them, and love them? If they do not obtain what they pray for, yet undoubtedly they receive great comfort to see, that the evils which press them, and whereof they complain still, do not oppress and overcome them, and therefore they receive strength to bear the same the better. O good Father! help me that I may heartily love thee, complain to thee in all my need, and always by prayer pour out my heart before thee. Amen.
Another Paraphrase or Meditation upon the Lord's Prayer
O almighty and eternal God, of whom all fatherhood in heaven and in earth is named, whose seat is the heaven, whose footstool is the earth, who of thy great clemency and unspeakable love hast not weighed nor considered our great unkindness and wilful disobedience, but according to the good pleasure of thy eternal purpose hast in thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ chosen us out of the world, and dost accept us far otherwise than we are in deed; to be called, yea, and to be indeed thine adopted sons; and dost vouchsafe, O loving Father, that we, being, as it were, heavenly children, should every one of us confess, declare, and call thee our heavenly Father. Grant, dear Father, that among us thy poor children, by pureness of mind and conscience, by singleness of heart, by uncorrupt and innocent life, and example of virtue and godliness, thy most holy name may be sanctified; and that so many of all other nations as thou hast thereunto chosen and predestinated, beholding our godliness and virtuous deeds that thou works in us, may be the more stirred to hallow and glorify thy blessed name.
Oh! faithful Father, we beseech thee that the kingdom of thy Holy Spirit, of grace and prayer, of thy loving kindness and mercy, and of all other thy holy virtues, and of thy holy and most blessed word, may continually reign in our hearts, so that thou would vouchsafe thereby to make us worthy to be partakers of the realm and kingdom of thy glorious and blessed presence.
Oh! dear God and heavenly Father, we humbly desire thy goodness to bow our hearts unto thee, to make us humble of mind, to make us low in our own sight and obedient, that, like as thy dear Son, our only Saviour Jesus Christ, counted his meat, works, praise, and life, to be only in obeying their most blessed will, wherein for our sakes he became obedient to the death of the cross, that so we may, even unto the very death, in lowliness, in meekness, patience and thankfulness, obey thy holy will, and not murmur and grudge, nor refuse whatsoever thy fatherly pity shall think good to lay on us, be it poverty, hunger, nakedness, sickness, slanders, oppressions, vexations, persecutions, yea, or death itself, for well-doing. But in all things may we seek and labour to make these our earthly bodies serviceable to do thy will, and to refuse what thou wills not, never to strive nor wrestle against thy holy will, but with thy heavenly citizens and household, built upon the foundation of thy holy prophets and apostles, thy Son Jesus Christ being the head corner-stone; all self-will and controversy in opinions being set aside; the lusts, desires, and affections of the flesh mortified; the flattering assaults of the vain world, the cruel and subtle layings in wait of the devil overcome; agreeing together quietly, and united in spirit, we may freely obey thy most blessed will, therein to walk all the days of our life.
Oh! dear God, give unto our needy bodies necessary sustenance, and take from us all love of worldly things, all anxiety and covetousness, that we may the more freely worship and serve thee. Oh! merciful Father, we beseech thee to give unto us that heavenly bread to strengthen our hearts; I mean the body of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, the very food and health of our souls, that we may always with thankfulness firmly feed on him by faith, and utterly forsake and abhor all false doctrine and persuasions of men, and all lying spirits that shall persuade us any otherwise of him than thy holy word teaches and assures us. Satisfy our hungry souls, dear Father, with the marrow and fatness of thy rich mercy, promised to us in the same thy Son, and of our eternal elections redemption, justification, and glorification in him. Make us, O gracious God, to contemn and despise this world, with the vain things and pleasures thereof, and inwardly to hunger for thy blessed kingdom and presence, which do thou satisfy, good God, in thy good time, according to thy good will and pleasure. Oh! most loving God, give us the bread of thy divine precepts, and make our hearts perfect, that we may truly and freely walk and live in them all the days of our life. Oh! dear and merciful Father, we beseech thee give us the bread of thy lively and heavenly word, and the true understanding thereof, which is the light of our paths, the food, strong tower, and sure defence of our souls, that we, being well fenced with this ammunition, fed and filled with this food, may be worthy guests at thy celestial feast and wedding, where we shall never hunger nor want.
Oh! most righteous and merciful God, Father, and Governor of our life; we confess that we have grievously sinned against thee from our youth up until now, in ingratitude, in unthankfulness, wilfulness, disobedience, presumption, and our innumerable negligences and sins, which we from time to time most heinously have committed; whereby we have deserved not only sore and grievous plagues, but even eternal damnation, were it not that thou art the Lord of mercy, and hast power to show mercy on whom thou wilt; wherein thou art rich and plentiful to all them that call upon thee faithfully. Wherefore, dear Father, we, seeing our manifold and grievous sins which we have committed against thee, and also thy great mercy, loving kindness, patience, and longsuffering towards us; are compelled not only to bear patiently and suffer our enemies when they rail on us, slander us, oppress us, vex us, or trouble us, curse, persecute, and kill us; but also to speak well of them, to instruct them, to pray for them, to do them good, to bless them, to clothe them, and feed them, so heaping coals of thy charity and love upon them, and mercifully to forgive them, even as thou, dear Father, for thy beloved Christ's sake hast forgiven us. Thus hast thou taught us, good Father, not as the hypocrites, to look narrowly on our neighbours' faults, but diligently to examine our own consciences, wherein we have offended thee; and also what occasion of offence or falling we have given to our brethren in eating, drinking, going, apparel, speaking, dissolute or uncomely laughter; in bargaining, or by any means, and with all speed to seek to reconcile ourselves to them, and to forgive unto others, from the bottom of our hearts, whatsoever they have offended us, and to do none otherwise than we wish and desire in our hearts that others should do to us; that so we may find thee, O Lord, in forgiving us our trespasses, mild and merciful, which do thou speedily show thyself unto us, for thy dear Christ's sake.
Oh! Lord, thou God of the righteous, we feel the frailty of our nature to be so perverse and apt to sin, that when thou by the gifts of thy Holy Spirit dost move us, and (as it were) call us, yea, rather draw us unto thee, then are we drawn away and tempted of our own concupiscence and lust, besides the great and dangerous assaults of the world and devil; therefore, faithful Father, we thy poor children beseech thee to take from us all those evils and occasions that may draw us from thee. Oh! dear God, protect, defend, and strengthen us against all the suggestions and assaults of our enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil; that neither in prosperity we should be haughty and high-minded to say unthankfully, "What is the Lord!" nor yet in the abundance of temptation, anguish, vexation, tribulation, or persecution, be oppressed with fear, nor be deceived by flattery, nor yet to fall in despair, and so utterly perish. But in all dangers and perils of temptation, and in the midst of the stormy tempests of tribulation, dear Father, make us thy poor children, to feel the consolation of the certainty of our eternal election in Christ Jesus our Lord, and to perceive thy fatherly succour ready to help us; lest that we, being overcome with the wicked sleight (craftiness, editor), and deceitful invasions of the enemies, should be drawn into an obstinate mind, as without thy grace and merciful protection we shall, and so be shut up by the knowledge that should lead thy gracious gifts, and benefits unto us, to our advantage and comfort, so that thou might lead us forth with the evil doers and harden our hearts. Therefore, O good God, give us these thy good gifts, namely, strength, patience, and joyfulness of heart, to rejoice in temptation, and assure us that it is the trial of our faith; that faith in us may have her perfect work, that when we are well approved, and purified with the fire of temptations, we may finish our life in victory, and evermore live with thee in thy heavenly kingdom, where no temptation shall hurt us.
Finally, most merciful Father, we humbly beseech thee to deliver us from this present evil world, from all human and worldly fear, from all infirmities of the flesh and mind, from false prophets and teachers, from false brethren, from traitors, tyrants, &c. And if it be thy good pleasure, and may make most to the glory of thy name, deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and from all other evils, present and to come, both of body and soul; that we, being by thy great mercy defended from all hurtful things may always use those things that are profitable for us, devoutly given to serve thee in good works; that the yoke of our enemies and the bands of sin being shaken off, we may possess the inheritance of thy heavenly kingdom, which thy dear Son Jesus Christ has with his precious blood purchased for thine elect from the beginning of the world. For thine is the kingdom, thou only hast the majesty, thou only art the God above all gods, King of all kings, and Lord of all lords: thou only hast the power and authority to set up kings, and to put them down; thou lifts the poor out of the dirt, and makes him to sit among the princes of thy people; thou only makes wars to cease, and gives victory to whom thou wilt. Oh! dear God there is neither majesty, rule, nor power, honour nor worship, dignity nor office, riches nor poverty, health nor sickness, plenty nor scarcity, prosperity nor adversity, war nor peace, life nor death, nor any other thing, but it is all thine; and thou both hast the power, and wilt give it to whom it pleases thee, in thy time and season, that all glory may be given to thee alone, for thou art worthy.
Oh! dear Father, to thee we come therefore for help and succour, for without thee there is no help at all. Oh! good Father, deliver us from all that is evil in thy sight, for thine own name's sake, and for thy dear Christ's sake; that we being armed with thy holy armour, and weaponed with thy blessed word, and instructed with thy Holy Spirit, may, according to thy holy promise, serve thee without fear all the days of our lives, in such holiness and righteousness as is acceptable in thy sight. To thee therefore, our dear Father, our Creator, Feeder, Protector, Governor, and Defender; and thy beloved Son Jesus Christ, our only Peace, Mercy-seat, Redeemer, Justifier, and Advocate; and thy Holy Spirit, our Sanctification, our Wisdom, Teacher, Instructor, and Comforter, be all dominion, power, and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Meditation on the coming of Christ to Judgement, and of the Rewards both of the Faithful and Unfaithful
O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the ever-living God, by whom all things were made, are ruled, and governed, of thy love for our redemption thou did not disdain to be our Mediator, and to take upon thee our nature in the worst, of a virgin, purely and without sin, by the Operation of the Holy Spirit; that thou might in thine own person wonderfully, beautify and exalt our nature, and work the same in us also, first abolishing the guiltiness of sin by remission; then sin itself by death; and last of all, death, by raising up again these our bodies, that they may be like unto thine own glorious and immortal body, according to the power wherewith thou art able to subject all things unto thee. As of thy love, for our redemption thou became man, and that most poor and afflicted upon earth, by the space of thirty-four years at the least, in great humility, and did pay the price of our ransom by thy most bitter death and passion, for which I most heartily give thanks to thee: so of the same love towards us, in thy good time thou wilt come again in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, (Matt. xxv.,) with flaming fire, with thousands of saints, with angels of thy power, with a mighty cry, the shout of an archangel, and blast of a trump, suddenly as the lightning which shines from the east, when men think least of it, even as a thief in the night, when men are asleep. And thou wilt so come thus suddenly in the twinkling of an eye, and all men that ever have been, are, and shall be, with women and children, must appear before thy tribunal judgment-seat, to render an account of all things which they have thought, spoken, and done against thy law, openly and before all angels, saints, and devils; and to receive the just reward of thy vengeance, if they have not repented and obeyed the gospel; and to depart from thee to the devil and his angels, and all the wicked which ever have been, are, or shall be, into hell-fire, which is unquenchable and of pains intolerable, baseless, endless, hopeless, even from the face of thy glorious and mighty power. But if they have repented and believed thy gospel, if they are found watching with their lamps and oil in their hands, if they are found ready apparelled with the wedding-garment of innocence; if they have not hardened their hearts, and hoarded up their treasure of thy vengeance in the day of wrath to be revealed, but have used the time of grace, the acceptable time, the time of salvation, that is, the time of this life, in which thou stretches out thy hand and spreads thine arms, calling and crying unto us to come unto thee, who art meek in hearts and lowly; for thou wilt ease all that labour, and are heavy laden. And if they have visited the sick and prisoners, comforted the comfortless, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, lodged the harbourless. And if they have not loaded their hearts with gluttony and surfeiting and carefulness of this life; if they have not dug and hid their talent in the ground, doing no good therewith, but have been faithful to occupy thy gifts to thy glory, and have washed their garments in thy blood by hearty repentance. If they have done thus, then shall thy angels gather them together, not as the wicked, which shall be collected as fagots, and cast into the fire, but as the good wheat that is gathered into thy barnóthen shall they be caught up to meet thee in the cloudsóthen shall their corruptible body put on incorruptionóthen shall they be endued with immortality and gloryóthen shall they be with thee, and go whither thou goesóthen shall they hear, "Come, blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning, &c."óthen shall they be set on seats of majesty, judging the whole worldóthen shall they reign with thee for everó then shall God be all in all with them and to themóthen shall they enter and inherit the heavenly Jerusalem, and the glorious restful land of Canaan; where is always day and never night, where is no manner of weeping, tears, infirmity, hunger, cold, sickness, entry, malice, nor sin; but always joy without sorrow, mirth without measure, pleasure without pain, heavenly harmony, most pleasant melody, saying and singing, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts, &c. A sum the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man but which they shall then inherit and most surely enjoy although here they are tormented, prisoned, burned, solicited of Satan, tempted of the flesh, and entangled with the world, wherethrough they are enforced to cry, "Thy kingdom come, come Lord Jesus, &c. (Rev. xxii.) How amiable are thy tabernacles! Like as the hart desires the water-brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God. (Psalm xiii.) Now let thy servant depart in peace; I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. We mourn in ourselves, waiting for the deliverance of our bodies, &c." (Rom. viii.) Oh! gracious Lord, when shall I find such mercy with thee, that I may repent, believe, hope, and look for these blessings, with the full fruition of these heavenly joys, which thou hast prepared for all them that fear thee and so rest with thee for evermore?
A Meditation concerning the Sober usage both of the Body and Pleasures in this Life
We could not but use this our body, which God has made to be the tabernacle and mansion of our soul for this life, otherwise than are do, if we considered it accordingly. That is, we should use it for the soul's sake, being the guest thereof, and not for the body itself, and so should it be served in things to help, but not to hinder the soul. A servant it is, and therefore it ought to obey, to serve the soul, that the soul might serve God; not as the body will, neither as the soul itself will, but as God will; whose will we should learn to know, and behave ourselves thereafter. To observe which is hard for us now, by reason of sin, which has gained a mansion-house in our bodies, and dwells in us, as does the soul; to which (sin I mean) we are altogether of ourselves inclined, because we naturally are sinners, and born in sin; by reason whereof we are ready as servants to sin, and use our bodies accordingly, making the soul to sit at reward, and pampering up the servant to our shame. Oh! therefore, good Lord, that it would please thee to open this unto me, and to give me eyes effectually to consider what this my body is, namely, a servant lent for the soul to sojourn in, and serve thee in this life. Yea, it is by reason of sin, that has his dwelling there, become now to the soul nothing else but a prison, and that most strait, vile, stinking, filthy, and therefore in danger of miseries, to many in all ages, times, and places, till dead has turned it to dust, whereof it came, and whither shall return; that the soul may return to thee, from whence it came, until the day of judgment come, in the which thou shalt raise up the body, that then it may be partaker with the soul, and the soul with it, inseparably, of wealth or woe, according to that which is done in and by the same body here now in earth.
Oh! that I could consider these things often and heartily, then should I not pamper up this body to obey it, but bridle it, that it might obey the soul. Then should I fly the pain it puts my soul unto, by reason of sin and provocation to all evil, and continually desire the dissolution of it, with Paul, (Philip. i.) and the deliverance from it, as much as ever did prisoner his deliverance out of prison. For only by it the devil has a door to tempt, and so to hurt me; in it I am kept from thy presence, and thou from being so conversant with me as else thou would be. By it I am restrained in a great degree from the sense and feeling of all the joys and comforts which are to be taken as joys and comforts indeed. If it were dissolved, and I out of it, then Satan could no more hurt me; then would thou speak with me face to face; then the conflicting time were at an end; then sorrow would cease, and joy would increase, and I should enter into inestimable rest. Oh! that I considered this accordingly!
Another Meditation to the Same Effect
The beginning of all evil in our sinning springs out of the depravity and corruptness of our judgment, because our will always follows that which the reason judges should be followed. Now that which every man takes to be friendly and agreeing to his nature, the same he judges necessarily to be good for him, and to be desired. Thus meat, drink, apparel, riches, favour, dignity, rule, knowledge, and such like, because they are thought good and agreeing either to the body or to the mind, or to both, (for they help either to the conservation or to the pleasure of man,) are accounted by every one amongst good things.
Howbeit, such is the weakness of our understanding on the one part, and the blindness and too great rage of our lusts on the other part, that we, being left to ourselves, in the desire of things which we judge good and agreeing to our nature by the judgment of our senses and reason, cannot but overpass the bounds whereby they might be profitable unto us, and so we make them hurtful to us, which of themselves are ordained for our health. What is more necessary than meat and drink, or more agreeing to our nature? but yet how few there are who do not hurt themselves by them! In like manner it is with riches, estimation, friends, learning, &c. Yea, although we are in these most temperate, yet when the Spirit, our Regenerator, is wanting in them, we are so drowned in them, that we utterly neglect to lift up our minds to the good pleasure of God, to the end we might imitate and follow God our Maker, by yielding ourselves over, duly to use his gifts to the common and private utility of our neighbours. But now God only is life and eternity, and he cannot but demand of his handiwork, that we should render ourselves and all we have to the ends wherefore we were made, that is, to resemble for our portion, his goodness, as those who are nothing else but witnesses and instruments of his mercy. So that when we wholly and naturally strive against thaw kind of life whereto he has created us, by seeking always ourselves, what other thing ought to ensue, but that he should again destroy us, and take away his notable gifts, wherewith he endued us, that by all kinds of well-doing we should resemble his image? Yea, what other thing may ensue, but that he should leave us, and that eternally, that we might feel, and by experience prove, how bitter a thing it is to leave the Lord, in whom is all goodness? Oh! that therefore I might find such favour in thy sight, dear Father, that thou would work in me, by thy Holy Spirit, a true knowledge of all good things, and hearty love to the same, through Christ Jesus our Lord and only Saviour Amen.
A Meditation for the Exercise of our Mortification
He that will be ready in weighty matters to deny his own will, and be obedient to the will of God, had need accustom himself to deny his desires in matters of less weight, and to exercise mortification of his own will in trifles. For if our affections by this daily custom are now (as it were) half slain, surely when the plunge shall come, we shall find the more to do. If we cannot watch with Christ one hour, as he said to Peter, we undoubtedly can much less go to death with him. Wherefore that in great temptations we may be ready to say with Christ, "Not my will, but thine be done," since this commonly comes not to pass, but when the roots of our lusts by thy grace, dear Father, are almost rotten, and rooted out by a daily denial of what they desire, I humbly beseech thee, for Christ's sake, to help me herein. First, pardon me my cherishing and, as it were, watering of my affections, obeying them in their devices and superfluous desires. Wherethrough since they have taken deep root, and are so lively in me, I secondly, do beseech thee to pull them up by the roots out of my heart, and so henceforth order me, that I may continually accustom myself to weaken the principal root, that the by-roots and branches may lose all their power. Grant me, I beseech thee, that thy grace may daily mortify my concupiscence of pleasant things, that is, of wealth, riches, glory, liberty, favour of men, meats, drinks, apparel, ease, yea, and life itself; that the horror and impatience of more grievous things may be weakened, and I may be made more patient in adversity. Whereunto I further desire and pray thy goodness, dear Father, that thou wilt add this namely, that I may for ever become obedient and ready to thy good will in all things, heartily and willingly to serve thee, and to do whatsoever may please thee. For doubtless, although we accustom ourselves, in the pleasant things of this life, to mortification and denial of ourselves, yet we shall find enough to do when more bitter and weighty crosses come; for if thy Son our Saviour, ever wont to obey thy good will, prayed so heartily and so often, "Not my will, but thy will be done," whereby he declared himself to be very man; how can it be but that we, whose nature is corrupt, not only in our birth but in our whole life also, shall find both our hands full in great and grievous temptations, and should wholly resign ourselves unto thee? Grant therefore, dear Father, for thy Christ's sake, to me a most miserable wretch, thy grace and Holy Spirit to be effectual in me, that I may daily accustom myself to deny my will in the more easy and pleasant things of this life, that, when need shall be, I may come with Christ to thee with a resigned will, always steadfastly expecting thy mercy, and in the mean season continually obeying thee with readiness and willingness, doing whatever may most please thee, through Christ our Lord, who lives with thee, &c.
A Godly Meditation and Instruction on the Providence of God towards Mankind
This ought to be most certain unto us,óthat nothing is done without thy providence, O Lord. That isóthat nothing is done, be it good or bad, sweet or sour, but by thy knowledge, that is, by thy will, wisdom, and ordinance; for knowledge comprehends in it all these, as by thy holy word we are taught in many places, that even the life of a sparrow is not without thy will, (Matt. x.) nor have all the devils in hell any liberty or power upon a beast, (Matt. viii.) but by thy appointment and will; which will we always must believe most assuredly to be wholly just and good, howsoever otherwise it may seem unto us. For thou art marvellous and not comprehensible in thy ways, and thou art holy in all thy works.
But hereunto it is necessary also for us to know no less certainly, that though all things are done by thy providence, yet the same providence has many and divers means to work by, which means being contemned, thy providence is contemned also. As for example, meat is a mean to serve thy providence for the preservation of health and life here; so that he who contemns to eat, because thy providence is certain and infallible, the same contemns thy providence. Indeed, if it were so that meat could not be had, then should we not tie thy providence to this mean, but make it free, as thou art free, that is, that without meat thou can help and give health and life; for it is not from any need that thou uses any instrument or mean to serve thy providence; thy power and wisdom are infinite, and therefore should we hang on thy providence, even when all is quite against us. But for our instruction and infirmities' sake, it has pleased thee by means to work and deal with us here, to exercise us in obedience, and because we cannot else, so great is our corruption, sustain thy naked and open presence. Grant me therefore, dear Father, I humbly beseech thee, for Christ's sake, that as I now know something of these things, so I may use this knowledge to my comfort and advantage in thee; that is, grant that in what state soever I am, I may not doubt but the same comes to me by thy most just ordinance, yea, by thy merciful ordinance; for as thou art just, so art thou merciful; yea, thy mercy is above all thy works.
And by this knowledge, grant me that I may humble myself to obey thee, and look for thy help in time convenient, not only when I have means, by which thou may work, and art so accustomed to do; but also when I have no means, but am destitute, yea, when all means are directly and wholly against me; grant I say, yet, that I may still hang upon thee and thy providence, not doubting of a fatherly end in thy good time.
Again, lest I should contemn thy providence, or presume upon it by uncoupling those things which thou hast coupled together, preserve me from neglecting thy ordinary and lawful means in all my needs, if so be I may have them, and with good conscience use them, although I know thy providence is not tied to them further than it pleases thee. But grant that I may with diligence, reverence, and thankfulness use them, and exert my diligence, wisdom, and industry in all things lawful, to stave thereby thy providence, if it so please thee. Howbeit, so that I hang in no part on the means or on my diligence, wisdom, and industry; but only on thy providence, which I am more and more persuaded is altogether fatherly and good, how far soever otherwise it appear and seem, yea, is felt by me. By this, I being preserved from negligence on my behalf, and despair or murmuring towards thee, shall become diligent and patient, through thy mere and only grace, which give and increase in me, to praise thy holy name for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour. Amen.
A Meditation of the Presence of God
There is nothing that makes more to true godliness of life, than the persuasion of thy presence, dear Father and that nothing is hid from thee, but that all to thee is open and naked, even the very thoughts which one day thou wilt reveal and open, either to our praise or punishment in this life, as thou did David's faults, which he did secretly; (2 Sam. xii.;) or in the life to come (Matt. xxv.) For nothing is so hid that it shall not be revealed; therefore the prophet says, Woe to them that keep secret their thoughts, to hide their counsel from the Lord, and do their works in darkness, saying, "Who sees us?" Grant to me therefore, dear God, mercy for all my sins especially my hidden and close sins; enter not into judgment with me, I humbly beseech thee; give me to believe truly in thy Christ, that I may never come into judgment for them, and that with David I might so reveal them and confess them unto thee, that thou would cover them. And grant further, that henceforth I may always think myself continually conversant before thee; so that if I do well, I publish it not as the hypocrites do; and if I do or think any evil, I may forthwith know that the same shall not always be hid from men. Grant me that I may always have in mind that day wherein hidden works of darkness shall be illumined, and also the sentence of thy Son, that nothing is so secret which shall not be revealed. So in trouble and wrong I shall find comfort, and otherwise be kept through thy grace from evil, which do thou work, I humbly beseech thee, for Christ's sake. Amen.
A Meditation of God's Power, Beauty, Goodness, &c.
Because thou, Lord, would have us to love thee, not only dost thou will, entice, allure, and provoke us, but also commands us so to do, promising thyself unto such as love thee, and threatening us with damnation if we do otherwise; whereby we may see both our great corruption and naughtiness, and also thine exceeding great mercy towards us.
First, concerning our corruption and naughtiness, what a thing it is that power, riches, authority, beauty, goodness, liberality, truth, justice, all which thou art, good Lord, cannot move us to love thee! Whatsoever things we see fair, good, wise, mighty, are but sparks of that power, beauty, goodness, wisdom, which thou art. For that thou might declare thy riches, beauty, power, wisdom, goodness, &c. thou hast not only made, but still dost preserve, all creatures to be declarers and setters forth of thy glory, and as a book to teach us to know thee, as David says of the heavens. Ps. xix.
How fair thou art, the beauty of the sun, moon, stars, light, flowers, rivers, fields, hills, birds, beasts, men, and all creatures, yea, the goodly shape and form of the whole world, declare!
How mighty thou art, we are taught by the creation of this world out of nothing, by thy governing the same, by thy punishing the wicked mighty giants thereof, by their overthrowing their devices, by thy repressing the rage of the sea within her bounds, by storms, by tempests, by fires; these and such like declare unto us thine invisible almighty, and terrible power, whereby thou subdues all things unto thee! How rich thou art, this world, thy great and infinite treasure-house, well declares! What plenty is there, not only of things, but also of every kind of things! Yea, how dost thou yearly and daily multiply these kinds! How many seeds dost thou make of one seed, yea, what great increase dost thou bring it unto! These cannot but put us in remembrance of the exceeding riches that thou hast; for if to thine enemies, who love thee not, (as the most part in this world are such,) if to them thou gives so plentifully thy riches here; what shall we think that, with thyself, thou hast laid up for thy friends? How good thou art, all creatures both generally and particularly do teach. What creature is there in the world which thou hast not made for our advantage? I will not say how thou might have made us creatures without sense or reason, if thou would have done so. But, amongst all things, none so teaches us thy great love towards us, as does the death of thy most dearly beloved Son, who suffered the pains and terrors thereof, yea, and of hell itself, for our sakes.
If this thy love had been but a small love, it would never have lasted so long, and Christ should never have died.
A Meditation on Death, and the Advantages it brings
What else do we daily in this present life, than heap sin to sin, and hoard up trespass upon trespass?óSo that this day always is worse than yesterday, by increasing our sins as our days, and therefore thy indignation, good Lord, is against us. But when we shall be suffered to go out of the body, and are taken into thy blessed company, then shall we be in the fullest safety of immortality and salvation; then shall come unto us no sickness, no need, no pain,ó no kind of evil to soul or body; but whatsoever good we can wish, that shall we have, and whatsoever we loath shall be far from us. Oh dear Father, that we had faith to behold these things accordingly! Oh that our hearts were persuaded thereof, and our affections inflamed with the desire of them! Then should we live in longing for that which now we most loath. Oh help us, and grant that we, being ignorant of things to come, and of the time of our death, which to thee is certain, may so live and finish our journey here, that we may be ready, and then depart, when our departing may make most to thy glory and our comfort through Christ!
What is this life, but a smoke, a vapour, a shadow, a warfare, a bubble of water, a word, grass, a flower? Thou shalt die is most certain, but the time when no man can tell. The longer thou dost remain in this life, the more thou sins, which will turn to thy more pain. By thinking upon death, our minds are often in manner oppressed with darkness, because we do but remember the night of the body, forgetting the light of the mind, and of the resurrection. Thereto remember the good things that shall ensue after this life, and without wavering, in certainty of faithóso shall the passage of death be more desired. It is like sailing over the sea to thy home and country; it is like a medicine to the health of soul and body; it is the best physician; it is like to a woman's travail, for so thy soul, being delivered out of the body, comes into a much more large and fair plate, even into heaven!
A Godly Meditation upon the Passion of our Saviour Jesus Christ
O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the ever living and almighty God, by whom all things were made, and are ruled and governed; thou the lively image of the substance of the Father, the eternal wisdom of God, the brightness of his glory, God of God, light of light, co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial with the Father.ó Thou, of the love thou had to mankind, that when he was fallen from the fellowship of God into the society of satanic and all evil, did vouchsafe for our redemption to become a Mediator between God and man, taking to the Godhead our nature, as concerning the substance of it, and so became man. Also thou became the heir of all, and most merciful Messias; who by the power of thy Godhead, and merits of thy manhood, hast purged our sins, even by thine own self, whilst thou was here on earth; and being now set on the right hand of thy Father for us, even concerning our nature, in majesty, glory, and power infinite; I beseech and humbly pray thy mercy, to grant me at this present to rehearse somewhat of thy passion and suffering for me the last night thou was here before thy death, that thy good Spirit may thereby be effectual to work in me faith, as well of the pardon of my sins by them, as also the mortification of mine affections, comfort in my crosses, and patience in afflictions. Amen.
In the midst of thy last supper, with thy dear apostles, these things could not but be before thee, namely, that they would all leave thee, the most earnest would forswear thee, and one of the twelve should most traitorously betray thee; which were no small crosses unto thee. Judas was admonished by thee to beware; but when he took no heed, and wilfully went out to finish his work, contemning thy admonition and counsel, he could not but vex thy most loving heart.
After supper there was contention among thy disciples who should be greatest after thee; they still dreaming carnally of thee and of thy kingdom, and having this affection of pride and ambition busy among there, notwithstanding thy diligence in reproving and teaching them.
After thy admonitions to them respecting the cross that would come, thereby to make them more vigilant, so ignorant were they that they thought they could, with their two swords, put away all perils; which was no little grief unto thee. After thy coming to Gethsemane, heaviness oppressed thee, and therefore thou would thy disciples to pray; thou did tell to Peter and his fellows, that thy heart was heavy to death; thou did will them to pray, being careful for them also, lest they should fall into temptation. After this thou went a stone's cast from them, and did pray thyself; falling down and grovelling upon the earth; but, alas! thou did feel no comfort, and therefore thou came to thy disciples, who, of all others, were most sweet and dear unto thee! but, lo! to thy further discomfort, they cared neither for thy perils nor for their own, and therefore slept apace. After thou had awakened them, thou did go again to pray, but thou found no comfort at all, and therefore did return again for some comfort at thy dearest friends' hands. But yet again, alas! they are fast asleep; whereupon thou art enforced to go again to thy heavenly Father for some sparkle of comfort in these thy wonderful crosses and agonies. Now here thou was so discouraged and so comfortless, that even streams of blood came running from thine eyes and ears, and other parts of thy body. But who is able to express the infirmities of thy crosses, even while in the garden! All which thou suffered for my sake, as well to satisfy thy Father's wrath for any sins, as also to sanctify all my sufferings, and make them the more gladly to be sustained by me.
After thy prayer thou came, and yet again found thy disciples asleep; and before thou can well awake them, lo! Judas comes with a great band of men to apprehend thee as a thief, and does so, leading thee away bound to the high bishop's Annas, and so from him to Caiaphas. Here now to augment this thy misery, behold thy disciples flee from thee, false witnesses are brought against thee, thou art accused and condemned of blasphemy! Peter, even in thy sight, forswears thee; thou art unjustly stricken for answering lawfully, thou art blindfolded, stricken, and buffeted all the whole night in the bishop Caiaphas' house by their cruel servants.
In the morning betimes thou art condemned again by the priests for blasphemy, and therefore they bring thee before the secular power to Pilate, by whom thou art openly arraigned as thieves and malefactors were. When he saw that thou was maliciously accused, yet he did not dismiss thee, but sent thee to Herod; where thou was derided shamefully in coming and going to and from him, all the way wonderfully, especially after Herod had apparelled thee as a fool.
Before Pilate again therefore thou was brought, and accused falsely. No man took thy part, or spoke a good word for thee. Pilate caused thee to be whipped and scourged, and to be handled most pitifully, to see if any pity might appear with the prelates; but no man at all pitied thee.
Barabbas was preferred before thee; all the people, high and low, were against thee, and cried, hang thee up; unjustly was thou judged to death; thou was crowned with thorns that pierced thy head; thou was made a mocking-stock; thou was reviled, rebated, beaten, and most miserably handled.
Thou went through Jerusalem to the place of execution, even the mount of Calvary; a great cross to hang thee was laid upon thy back; to bear and draw, as long as thou was able.
Thy body was racked to be nailed to the tree; thy hands were bored through, and thy feet also, nails were put through them to fasten thee thereon; thou was hanged between heaven and earth, as one cast out of heaven, and rejected of the earth, unworthy of any place. The high priest laughed thee to scorn, the elders blasphemed thee, and said, God has no care for thee; the common people laughed and cried out upon thee. Thirst oppressed thee, but vinegar only and gall were given thee to drink. Heaven shined not on thee, the sun gave thee no light, the earth was afraid to bear thee, Satan tempted thee, and thine own senses caused thee to cry out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Oh! wonderful passions (sufferings, editor) which thou suffered; in them thou teaches me, in them thou comforts me; for by them God is my father, my sins are forgiven; by them I should learn to fear God, to love God, to hope in God, to hate sin, to be patient, to call upon God, and never to leave him for any temptation, but with thee still to cry, "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." (The similarity of many of the sufferings endured by the martyrs in those days to the sufferings of our Lord was evidently present to Bradford's mind when be penned some of the expressions in this meditation, editor.)